Uber Health Will Allow US Doctors To Arrange Transport For Their Patients

Kelvin Reese
March 4, 2018

SCI Solutions reported that '3.6 million Americans miss their medical appointments due to lack of transportation.' Using this information, Uber chose to tackle that issue head-on.

The benefits to doctors and hospitals of using ride hailing apps - which replace taxis and medical shuttles, but not ambulances - include on-demand scheduling, destination tracking and lower costs, said one doctor who had tried Uber's service. Last July, the nonprofit organization Disability Rights Advocate sued Uber for discrimination in NY state, alleging that UberWAV provides inconsistent access to wheelchair-friendly vehicles and prolonged wait times. As with Uber Central, the passenger being picked up via Uber Health doesn't need a smartphone - they'll receive a notification that their driver has arrived via text message. Uber also developed an API so healthcare companies can work Uber Health into their own patient management applications.

Uber said that more than 100 US healthcare organizations are already using Uber Health as part of a beta testing program.

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Uber Health, however, is not merely an extension of a ride service. The rideshare service hopes to provide patients with affordable and easy access to a vehicle, which would help increase the likelihood of them making it to their doctor's appointments and getting proper medical care when they need it most. Uber has thus teamed up with healthcare organizations to provide reliable transportation for patients.

Uber has been piloting its health service since last summer. As of now, Uber Health is only available in the U.S., but it may very well expand to other countries and regions in the coming months. "The idea there is that you can order, manage and monitor multiple trips if you're a larger health care facility", Jay Holley, head of partnerships at Uber Health told Newsweek. A lot of that money is for people who can't drive - either because of age or poverty - and so Medicare and Medicaid providers foot the bill. Companies like Collective Health (which recently announced a $110 million fundraise) are seeking ways to bring Uber Health into their offerings.

Public transportation is notorious for not running on schedule and that's a problem when it comes to doctor visits. Uber Health, he says, could relieve some of that burden. "In San Francisco, 80% of the time, Uber WAV service is unavailable", Disability Rights Advocates wrote in a Monday statement about filing the suit in Alameda County Superior Court.

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