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ARTICLE WRITTEN FOR BLUBERRY PI CONSULTING BY KAINOE LEE

Uber and Lyft’s proposal to health care reform couldn’t have come at a better time.

Last week, the ride-hailing apps announced a new service:

To offer patients healthcare transportation for their doctor appointments.

Each year, an estimated 3.6 million Americans miss or reschedule medical appointments due to inadequate transportation. Transportation barriers are common in the United States, but “these barriers are greatest for vulnerable populations, including patients with the highest burden of chronic disease,” said Chris Weber, General Manager of Uber Health.

Just as Amazon, Berkshire and JP Morgan recently announced their latest healthcare partnership, both transportation companies also decided that 2018 would be the kick off to healthcare reform.

So, what exactly does this new healthcare service entail?

Take a look:

Build healthcare alliances for improved health care access:

Uber Health coordinators will schedule healthcare transportation set up by doctor’s offices as well as other healthcare providers and will bill the business instead of the patient.

Lyft will work with Allscripts, one of the top leading electronic health records companies in the nation, to maintain and integrate its platform with potential healthcare partners. These partners include 7.2 million patients, which are comprised of about 2,500 hospitals, 45,000 physician practices, and 180,000 healthcare physicians.

Lyft plans to provide these “health care transportation options for routine medical care to thousands of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries”.

Satisfy patient healthcare experience:

Healthcare patients will not need the ride apps, or even a smartphone to schedule a ride, as all communication will be done via text message.

Uber also plans to give patients the option to receive information about their scheduled ride through a cellular phone or landline. Uber is “committed to providing the necessary educational tools that ensure every patient feels comfortable and at ease during their journey.”

Carelinx, a professional caregiver marketplace will team up with Lyft to assist in the placement of licensed caregivers with families in need of medical services or healthcare. Through the Concierge API, Carelinx built a specific ride request for their app, which allows family members and caregivers a quick and easy way to reserve healthcare transportation through Lyft.

Shorter wait times:

With the new system, Lyft patients will get to and from their healthcare appointments with an average wait time of three minutes.

Uber Health will enable shorter wait times for health care patients through immediate appointment scheduling that can range from within a few hours before the medical appointment, for up to 30 days before the appointment. This will allow transportation to be scheduled for follow-up appointments in advance or while the patient is still at the healthcare facility.

Lower bills and simple billing:

Patients will no longer have to worry about transportation charges because healthcare providers will be required to cover the cost of the health care ride. Healthcare affiliates will also be able to easily track and manage rides and billing through monthly billing statements, appointments and schedule reports.

Both apps are considered to be a cheaper alternative to taxi services, where the average fare for a taxi can be more than twice the amount of an Uber or Lyft.

HIPAA compliance:

Uber has signed Business Associate Agreements (BAAs) with each of their healthcare partners to ensure the safety of their patients.

Last insights:

With the current traditional healthcare system in a storm, these ride apps are positive their program will gain traction in the healthcare industry – especially among patients, also known as their new customers.

By 2020, Lyft aims to cut the amount of missed or rescheduled healthcare appointments in half “to ensure that transportation is no longer a barrier to [health] care for anyone.”

References

Lyft. (2018). Revolutionizing Patient Transportation with Lyft Concierge API — Lyft Blog. Retrieved from https://blog.lyft.com/posts/2018/3/2/revolutionizing-patient-transportation-with-lyft-concierge-api

Weber, C. (2018). Introducing Uber Health, Removing Transportation as a Barrier to Care. Retrieved from https://www.uber.com/newsroom/uber-health/

Cava, M. della. (2018). Lyft adds 7 million patients with new healthcare ride partnership. Retrieved from https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2018/03/05/lyft-deal-allscripts-lets-180-000-doctors-call-rides-their-patients/389122002/

Murphy, T. (2018). Can ride-hailing companies cure medical transportation woes? – ABC News. Retrieved from http://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/ride-hailing-companies-cure-medical-transportation-woes-53537334

Medicaid NoN-eMergeNcy Medical TraNsporTaTioN (NeMT) saves lives aNd MoNey Barriers To accessiNg HealTHcare. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://web1.ctaa.org/webmodules/webarticles/articlefiles/NEMTpaper.pdf