Uber Health lets providers schedule rides for patients

04 March, 2018, 01:58 | Author: Miranda Cannon
  • An Uber waits for a client in New York City. The company is partnering with health care organizations to provide patients with reliable transportation

Uber Health General Manager Chris Weber explained on a call that some 3.6 million Americans miss medical appointments owing to a lack of available, reliable transportation.

San Francisco-based Uber, a global ride-sharing company, has launched Uber Health, a service that enables health care providers to hail on-demand and scheduled rides for patients. "People who use wheelchairs and use UberWAV must contend with missed appointments, being late for events and other stress and inconvenience", the lawsuit said, according to The New York Times. Uber Health riders don't need a smartphone to get their ride details; for now, that information is sent to the patient via a text message, but in the future Uber will also support sending info via calls to mobile and landline numbers as an alternative.

So far, Uber has found it is typically the healthcare providers who are offering this service to the patient, rather than the patient requesting it, though that could eventually change as it continues to grow.

Another benefit of the service is helping health care providers meet patient care goals that can factor into how a facility scores with regulators. The company said it provides clear monthly billing statements so that organizations can track how much they're spending on transportation, assuming that they front the costs of rides for patients. Uber already has over 100 healthcare organizations on the platform, thanks to a private beta that began last summer.

How many wide-eyed entrepreneurs have compared their health-tech start-up to Uber? "There's a transportation barrier, and if they can't make it to their services, Uber is a reliable option".

Uber Health stores all of the trip information but only in client-side, HIPAA-compliant servers, and that data is never stored on Uber's own, Weber points out.

Whorley, who has been driving for Uber for more than two years, is more skeptical about picking up people without smartphones.

Healthcare professionals can sign their organization up with Uber Health right now via its official website.

Then, of course, there are the patients who never enter an ambulance at all-and, consequently, don't get to the doctor's office or hospital and don't receive care. (The company hasn't yet said if it will.) People with disabilities have had longstanding issues accessing public transportation, traditional taxis, and ride-hailing services.



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