Uber, Circulation Collaborate on Hospital Pilot Program for Patient Transportation

Sept. 28, 2016
Boston-based startup Circulation, as Uber’s preferred healthcare platform partner, is launching a digital healthcare transportation platform as a pilot program at several East Coast acute care and children’s hospitals.

Boston-based startup Circulation, as Uber’s preferred healthcare platform partner, is launching a digital healthcare transportation platform as a pilot program at several East Coast acute care and children’s hospitals.

Circulation, a healthcare transport firm, developed the digital transportation platform to have built-in connectivity between hospital information systems and the Uber API with the aim of providing on-demand, non-emergency medical transportation for patients, according to a company press release. The platform, which is compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), will connect ride sharing company Uber with patients, care coordinators and providers.

The pilot program is designed to reduce the number of missed doctor’s appointments by providing on-demand transportation options to get patients, especially disabled, elderly or low-income patients, to and from medical appointments.

Initially piloting at Boston Children’s Hospital, Mercy Health System’s three acute-care hospitals and a care program for elderly patients in Pennsylvania, and Nemours Children’s Health System in Wilmington, Delaware, Circulation’s service is expected to roll out across six additional states in 2016.

According to the Transportation Research Board, up to $3 billion is spent annually by Medicaid on non-emergency medical transportation. An estimated 3.6 million Americans miss medical appointments each year due to transportation issues.

“We are confident that Circulation will help us improve access and patient-centered care to acute care and elderly patients across Southeastern Pennsylvania who need help getting to their medical appointments,” Gary Zimmer, senior vice president and CEO, Clinically Integrated Network at Mercy Health System, said in a statement. "Unlike other new offerings that are stand-alone systems to dispatch on-demand vehicles, Circulation's platform integrates with our internal systems, as well as with ride providers like Uber. It’s much more efficient for our transportation coordinators and allows us to seamlessly orchestrate the ride into the overall patient experience."

Michael Docktor, M.D., pediatric gastroenterologist at Boston Children’s Hospital, said, “There’s already much stress and anxiety on the part of families whose young children need regular medical care.” Docktor said the integrated healthcare transportation platform can “alleviate the added headaches that come along with traffic and parking challenges in a busy city such as Boston and ensure that parents can focus on their children–not the ride to the hospital.”

Ed Woomer, administrator, patient and family services at Nemours Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Delaware said in a statement the integrated healthcare transportation platform is the “next evolution of on-demand healthcare transportation” and will “provide more reliable, timely and predictable routine healthcare transportation to our young patients and their families.

“We have an opportunity to make a real difference for children in need of care but who live in rural areas and struggle to make appointments,” Woomer said.

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