Uber wants your doctor to book you Uber rides straight to his or her office. Uber thinks it has something that can make that experience a little bit easier.
Uber's launching a new business line called Uber Health on Thursday that will provide a ride-hailing platform available specifically to healthcare providers, letting clinics, hospitals, rehab centers and more easily assign rides for their patients and clients from a centralized dashboard - without requiring that the rider even have the Uber app, or a smartphone.
People won't need Uber on their smartphone, the Uber Health service can be used through a text message.
Uber is driving deeper into health care by offering to take patients in every US market where it operates to their next medical appointment.
"Uber's endeavors into health care trace back to 2014, when Uber first offered on-demand flu shots in large markets across the USA", he said, regarding the genesis of the focus on health within Uber.
Numerous rides are provided to people who can't drive-either because of age, poverty or medical condition-and Medicare and Medicaid providers cover at least some of the cost of transportation.
One hundred health care organizations in the USA, including hospitals, clinics, rehab centers, senior care facilities, home care centers, and physical therapy centers have already used Uber Health's test program.
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In most cases, it'll be up to the doctors discretion to decide whether a patient is well enough to take an Uber or if they should call an ambulance instead.
The company has been testing Uber Health in beta since last July.
"Every year, 3.6 million Americans miss doctor appointments due to a lack of reliable transportation", Weber pointed out, citing research from the Community Transportation Association. Healthcare technology companies like Bracket Global and Collective Health are also exploring ways that Uber Health can work with their offerings. "If you get penalized (for not following up with patients), there's incentive for you to track them better, and sometimes that means helping them get to you".
Needham says hospital staff assess which patients are at risk of missing critical appointments and provides them with pick-up and drop-off rides at the hospital's expense.
Interestingly, Uber was already breaking into healthcare before this initiative. She said that can improve patient health and cut down on unnecessary emergency room visits.
Currently, Uber's accessibility policy states that drivers must comply with all applicable state, federal and local laws governing the transportation of riders with disabilities, and drivers are expected to accommodate riders using mobility devices "to the maximum extent feasible".
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