Recently, Uber launched Uber Health, a service that makes it possible for providers to use a centralized dashboard to arrange rides for patients even if patients lack the Uber app. Days after the launch of Uber Health, Lyft revealed that it is expanding a ride-sharing service it offers already with healthcare providers.
According to Uber Health General Manager Chris Weber, the lack of transportation causes 3.6 million Americans to miss medical appointments. Those missed appointments cost healthcare providers $150 billion annually.
Uber and Lyft both seek to address the problem by partnering with healthcare providers, who will pay both companies a fee for the cost of individual rides. Both services work this way:
From a dashboard, a provider enters information about the patient, their phone number, and pick-up and drop-off location.
The patient receives a text message telling them who their rider is, where the ride will pick up the patient, where they are going, and contact information.
The provider will not need to pay for use of the dashboard – just the ride fee.
According to a USA Today article, Lyft and Allscripts are integrating the Lyft platform into 2,500 hospitals, 45,000 physician practices, and 180,000 physicians, reaching approximately 7 million patients. Uber Health is working with about 100 hospitals – but has the advantage of its brand strength and ability to scale rapidly.
According to Ralph Decaro, Manhattan Centers for Women’s Health, “Within days of using Uber Health to arrange trips for our patients, we stopped using traditional transportation services. Coordination is seamless for us and rides are easy for patients.”
It makes perfect sense for Uber and Lyft to expand into healthcare Who hasn’t heard of the Uber effect on the healthcare industry, in which healthcare providers have worked harder to be more responsive to patients who want services faster and more conveniently? Hospitals are trying to be more responsive in a number of ways, such as Boston Children’s Hospital launching an Alexa app to offer healthcare advice or providing on-demand, in-home care.
The launch of Uber Health and expansion of Lyft’s own healthcare service shows that removing friction from patient access can and should occur by integrating offline and online as well.
If you are a healthcare provider partnering with Lyft or Uber, you should make sure your listings clarify that you offer the service. Providing a reliable ride for patients should be a competitive advantage reflected in your location/physician data as well as the more descriptive content on your listings. Make sure you clarify that the operations respect patient privacy and how patients will benefit by making their visits more convenient.
For more insight into how healthcare providers are improving location-based services – and how you can, too – contact us. We’re happy to help.
(This article was originally posted on SIM Partners Velocity Health.)