Апреля 24, 2018

New 'Uber Health' rideshare to help patients get to doctors appointments

04 Марта 2018, 01:58 | Ruben Stone

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

Ride-sharing companies have plunged into the health care business, seeing a big opportunity in ferrying the 3.6 million people who miss medical appointments each year to their doctors' offices.

Uber has announced the launch of a new service, Uber Health, to transport patients who need rides to and from physicians.

An Uber waits for a client in New York City.

More than 100 healthcare organizations in the US, including hospitals, clinics, rehab centers, senior care facilities and physical therapy centers are already using Uber Health as a part of the beta program that began last summer.

Uber Health, however, is not merely an extension of a ride service. The company partnered with Hitch Health to offer rides to health appointments focusing on uninsured, low-income and vulnerable patients that have difficulty getting to the doctor.

The company has been testing Uber Health in beta since last July. According to Uber Health's About page, Uber has been looking into capitalizing on the market for health transportation since July of past year. A passenger is then contacted via text or call, which will provide necessary ride details.

"Uber is already where the patient lives", he said.

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Uber lets health care workers book the ride for you because it wants to keep the service accessible to people who don't own a smartphone or who aren't familiar with Uber.

Uber says it's a way to help provide reliable, comfortable transportation for those needing medical assistance. Uber has signed Business Associate Agreements with its healthcare partners, and says that it will be complying with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Rutrick said taxis were more expensive and required advance planning to get a cab to drive an hour or two to pick someone up.

Uber's competitor Lyft also has several partnerships with healthcare organizations.

The healthcare companies are charged at the standard rate for Uber in their area, including surge pricing.

"One of the great things about this service it the folks who work at the health care facility, they make the determination if Uber is or [isn't] the appropriate way to get home", Holley said.

This means that transportation for follow-up appointments can be scheduled while still at the facility. "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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