Transportation barriers make going to the doctor for routine appointments a huge hassle, so what if healthcare providers could proactively do something to make sure patients make it to their appointments? That’s the idea behind Uber Health, an initiative which allows HCPs to schedule rides for their patients. While certain populations may not have the technical know-how to use a smartphone app to get to the doctor (think: your uncle who calls you every time he needs to find the power button on his desktop,) having the HCP schedule the service allows patients who may not even have a smartphone to use the troubled ride-sharer. NB, it’s not a replacement for ambulances, so don’t think you can skirt that $2,700, two-mile ambulance trip to the hospital when you need urgent care.
Uber has teamed up with the tech start-up Circulation to provide nonemergency rides to hospitals in an effort to cut down the number of missed doctor visits. The program will start with the Boston Children’s Hospital, according to an article in PR Week, with plans to expand to 6 states. Sounds neat, right? Don’t call it the best thing since sliced bread just yet. The U.S. government already spends money on nonemergency transportation – $2.7 billion each year – and 182,000 patients using that service still miss their appointments. Also, with the target audience being mostly elderly, will they shuffle to their smartphones to schedule rides? This writer can’t even get his grandpa to text him; though that might not be technology related.