Uber launches 'Uber Health' to transport patients to physicians' offices
04 March, 2018, 01:56 | Author: Gary Shelton
Currently, more than 100 healthcare organizations are piloting the service, including names like MedStar Health and Yale New Haven Health. As part of the agreement, Uber must hire a firm to audit its privacy practices every two years over the next 20 years.
Uber isn't the first major tech company to break into the healthcare space, which the World Economic Forum values at $6.5 trillion worldwide. "This service will provide reliable, comfortable transportation for patients". The providers cover the cost of the rides. More than 100 healthcare organizations in the USA have started using Uber Health under a beta, among them being hospitals, therapy centers, senior facilities, and more.
Uber is making a foray into the lucrative business of healthcare. One lesson learned from the experience is that numerous patients who use the service haven't used Uber before and may not even have a smartphone. It's unclear whether or not healthcare organizations will choose to pass some of these costs on to their patients, however.
"If there are people who are missing their appointments because they're using an unreliable bus service to get to and from their healthcare provider, this is a great solution for them", Chris Weber, general manager of Uber Health, told The Verge.
Some 3.6 million Americans, including almost 1 million children, miss doctor appointments each year because they don't have reliable transportation, according to a Community Transportation Association report.
Providers pay for the service in a single monthly bill, but can access patient accounts to monitor expenses and other metrics, such as usage frequency and trip durations, Uber Health said.
Uber wants your doctor to book you Uber rides straight to his or her office. Rider's personal health information is also protected, as the service complies with HIPAA regulations. In 2014, it offered on-demand flu shots in the US. "It's something we've been working on for quite some time, it is not only good for business, it's just the right the thing to do", Holley said. (The company hasn't yet said if it will.) People with disabilities have had longstanding issues accessing public transportation, traditional taxis, and ride-hailing services. CareMore Health System found in a pilot study in 2016 that using Lyft was cheaper than other forms of transportation and patients spent less time waiting for a ride.
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