Ridesharing Our Way to Better Healthcare

can be reached at nwakelin@gmail.com
can be reached at nwakelin@gmail.com
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A recent partnership between Ride Health and Uber Health is making ridesharing a key part of securing better healthcare, according to PR Newswire. The goal is to provide greater access to medical services for those who have limited access to affordable transportation options.

  • Uber Health is partnering with Ride Health to provide ridesharing services to patients.
  • Missed appointments negatively impact patient outcomes and increase costs.
  • Affordable and reliable on-demand transportation is a growing challenge for the healthcare industry.

While it’s common to think of calling an Uber for quick trips around town or when you need a ride to the airport, it’s not usually what comes to mind when someone needs a ride to a medical appointment. According to the National Academy of Sciences, it’s estimated that 3.6 million Americans delay or miss necessary medical care due to a lack of transportation.

Monitor on finger of Caucasian girl in hospital

Missed appointments can lead to hospital admissions that could have been avoided. (Photo: Getty Images)

Insurers could pay cab fare

This not only impacts patient health, it costs an estimated $150 billion dollars every year. Elderly, disabled, and low-income individuals are those most likely to be affected by this problem. Social isolation and a lack of personal cars or public transportation exacerbates the situation.

This new partnership between Ride Health and Uber Health facilitates healthcare transportation by making it more accessible. Whether it’s a routine exam, treatment for a chronic disease, or simply to get home from an emergency room visit or hospital stay, patients have the transportation they need.

The problem of securing transportation for patients is one the healthcare industry is struggling to solve. According to Forbes, the logistics of patient care is increasingly complicated. Providers are often penalized if a patient is readmitted within 30 to 90 days of initial treatment.

This makes it essential to have follow-up care delivered as scheduled. It could mean the difference between sending a patient home from an office visit with new care instructions or admitting them to the hospital because they missed an appointment and their condition worsened.

Services like Ride Health and Uber Health provide more options for getting patients to the non-emergency care they need, but cost can still be an issue. Access to a ride is no help if a patient can’t afford to pay for that ride.

Uber Health is pursing partnerships that will make its ridesharing service covered through medical insurers, according to Forbes. Its first national collaboration was with healthcare transportation management company American Logistics Company. This opened access to millions of healthcare plan members for covered transportation services.

American Logistics contracts with Caremore, which is a part of Anthem. As the second-largest health insurance company in the country, Anthem insures more than 40 million people. Now those people can be assured of prompt and affordable transportation to medical services.

Doctor discussing MRT image with patient in medical practice

Getting patients to all their appointments is a key part of ensuring adequate healthcare. (Photo: Getty Images)

Lyft passengers too

Rather than only hailing a ride at the moment it’s needed, American Logistics and Uber Health coordinate to plan transportation in advance around a patient’s needs. This allows for pickup and drop-off scheduling, real-time GPS tracking, and messaging all through one platform.

Uber isn’t the only one taking advantage of this growing segment of the transportation industry. Lyft also provides healthcare transportation and is partnered with some of the largest health systems and transportation brokers in the country.

According to its estimates, making Lyft available to patients reduces no-show rates and the lost revenue from those missed appointments. It also reduces costs by 32 percent making it a cost-effective option rather than one that increases insurer costs and is seen as a last resort option.

One year ago, it was estimated that 29 percent of Lyft riders used the service in order to access healthcare, according to Becker Hospital Review. Data collected from Lyft’s 2019 economic impact report included a survey of 30,000 drivers and 30,000 passengers.

It found nearly 75 percent of those using Lyft to access healthcare said getting to appointments was less of a hassle with Lyft. The report also found 28 percent of riders would have missed an appointment without the service and 36 percent now went to urgent care less often.

WHY THIS MATTERS

The opportunity for ridesharing to improve our lives goes beyond simply a ride to the airport. Integrating these services into managed healthcare helps makes patient care more affordable and more accessible for everyone.


About the Author

can be reached at nwakelin@gmail.com
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