Uber launches service for patients who need help getting to medical appointments

The message a patient receives along with the dashboard that the healthcare organisation booking the ride sees.   Uber

The message a patient receives along with the dashboard that the healthcare organisation booking the ride sees. Uber

"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.

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.

Uber Health is now being used by more than 100 healthcare organizations in the United States including clinics, hospitals, rehab centers, senior care facilities, and more as part of a beta program. A study of almost 800 Medicaid patients in West Philadelphia found that offering to schedule free Lyft rides to and from primary care appointments didn't decrease the number of missed appointments compared to a group of people not offered the service.

Uber and Lyft's move into the healthcare space represents yet another way in which the ride hailing companies are elbowing traditional transportation providers, from taxis to mass transit.

Uber began testing the service last summer.

Health insurers and others have long recognized the need to help some patients, especially those with low incomes, make their medical appointments. Riders will also eventually be able to receive a call with trip details instead of a text.

"We're unveiling a new service focused on an issue vital to all of us: health", said Chris Weber, GM of Uber Health on the company's blog.

Two children killed, eight wounded in Yemen airstrike
It received 11 votes in favor, two against - Russian Federation and Bolivia - while China and Kazakhstan abstained . Security Council to take further action against Iran for breaching the arms embargo.

"This is something that you don't have to have a smartphone to use it, you don't even have to have a cellphone at all, so that opens up the world of Uber to a much broader group of people".

Uber says it's a way to help provide reliable, comfortable transportation for those needing medical assistance.

The company said in a press release they partnered with more than 100 healthcare organizations in the US including hospitals, clinics and rehab centers.

To meet the medical privacy standards outlined in the federal HIPAA law, drivers won't know which of their passengers are using Uber Health.

The size of the opportunity has so piqued Uber's interest that the company has deployed low-tech solutions in its pilot programs. It is tough to imagine organizations like the NHS, which is already pretty cash-strapped, forking out for Uber rides for its patients, unless there were exceptional circumstances. Multiple rides for follow-up appointments can also be scheduled in advance.

"We work with our customers very deliberately to ensure they are only providing this service to people for whom UberX is a good way to get where they're going", he said.

Recommended News

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.