Uber All Set To Bring Patients To Their Doctors

First Posted: Sep 29, 2016 06:33 AM EDT

Uber has partnered with a technology startup, Circulation, to help patients get to their doctor on time. Nearly 3.6 million Americans miss their medical appointments every year because they do not have transportation. This joint venture aims at bringing this figure significantly down.

The service is targeted at patients who don't have their own conveyance and can't afford or access public transportation and whose rides are covered by health plans such as Medicaid.

The startup operates on a HIPAA-compliant digital platform that connects Uber with patients, care and transportation coordinators, and healthcare providers. An app has been created where the hospitals can request Uber cabs for patients who require help in getting to and from their appointments.

Currently, Boston Children's Hospital in Massachusetts, Mercy Health System's hospitals and old age care program in Pennsylvania, and Nemours Children's Health System in Wilmington, Delaware are the hospitals that will be a part of the trial that will be carried out to check the reliability and service of the network. It is expected to expand to six additional states this year.

"Existing efforts rely on outdated transportation options. Often patients have to wait hours before they can get picked up," said John Brownstein, one of Circulation's co-founder and chief innovation officer at Boston Children's Hospital. "We're creating a seamless transportation platform."

This enterprise focuses on the ongoing trend of hospitals and healthcare centers that are trying to improve patient service care in fresh ways such as lowering the irrelevant costs. Also, it had been observed that patients who missed their appointments due to lack of transportation options or inaccessibility to them may end up in the emergency department of the hospital, thus increasing the monetary burden.

"Switching from taxis to Ubers should help patient satisfaction by reducing the time patients spend waiting for rides", Brownstein said. Moreover, it will be the hospital staff's job to book the rides for the patients, so patients do not have to own a smartphone necessarily.

However, some experts have raised questions regarding the money that will be spent on the transportation and whether the rural communities benefit from these kind of experiments or not. Answers to these concerns will be awaited.

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