Need Health Care? Uber Wants To Drive You to the Doctor

Need Health Care? Uber Wants To Drive You to the Doctor

Uber Health claims the new service will help to alleviate the estimated 3.6 million missed doctor's appointments each year in the United States, especially for chronically ill, elderly and frail patients with limited transportation and communication options.

The Uber Health dashboard allows healthcare providers and caregivers to request and schedule rides on behalf of patients. "People who use wheelchairs and use UberWAV must contend with missed appointments, being late for events and other stress and inconvenience", the lawsuit said, according to The New York Times.

The service also enables access for patients without a smartphone as the rides can be scheduled through text message.

Uber is growing its enterprise-facing business, this time partnering with health care organizations to get patients to their medical appointments. The company said it provides clear monthly billing statements so that organizations can track how much they're spending on transportation, assuming that they front the costs of rides for patients.

The service doesn't necessarily need a rider to have the Uber app. Scheduling can be done through SMS. According to Uber Health's About page, Uber has been looking into capitalizing on the market for health transportation since July of a year ago.




Yet this new service definitely isn't an alternative to ambulances, Uber Health general manager Chris Weber told Business Insider. Rutrick said taxis were more expensive and required advance planning to get a cab to drive an hour or two to pick someone up. It is tough to imagine organizations like the NHS, which is already pretty cash-strapped, forking out for Uber rides for its patients, unless there were exceptional circumstances.

The initiative could help seniors and those without reliable transportation more easily access healthcare. Uber, and its USA competitor Lyft, want to chip away at the problem. The data will never be stored on Uber's own servers, according to the company. It is publicly available from today in the U.S., though there is no word yet on a future rollout in other countries.

Renwick said Lyft has been targeting groups of people, including elderly and poor patients in areas underserved by public transportation and people for whom missing an appointment - such as for dialysis or cancer treatment - could have major health repercussions and cause expensive hospitalizations.

Uber Health has been in testing since July with around 100 physicians and hospitals.

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