Two companies that provide non-emergency medical transportation services—Ride Health and Uber—together have expanded options for patients across the country who lack an affordable, simple way to get to and from medical appointments.
In a joint press release announcement, officials from the two organizations noted that an estimated 3.6 million Americans miss or delay medical care each year because of transportation issues, per data from the National Academy of Sciences.
What’s more, some studies peg the cost of missed doctor's appointments at over $150 billion annually. Especially vulnerable to transportation barriers are the elderly, disabled, and low-income populations, who are more likely to live alone and be socially isolated, without a car, or in areas poorly served by public transit, officials pointed out.
The partnership between Ride Health and Uber Health aims to help address these issues by helping make healthcare transportation more accessible at scale, company leaders stated. Ride Health's web-based, mobile-enabled transportation coordination platform covers all ride types and service levels, from public transit and taxis to wheelchair-accessible vehicles (WAV) and ambulances. It works by integrating with dispatch, clinical, and customer relationship management systems to deliver real-time visibility, decision support, and data-driven performance management
Officials note that what makes Ride Health’s system unique is that its platform monitors each ride throughout the trip for potential disruptions, such as late drivers or missed connections. If a disruption is imminent, automated notifications prompt a support team to intervene in real-time. The platform tracks ride-level performance data and feedback to produce a rating of both the quality of service and the cost of a ride.
Hospitals and health systems use Ride Health to help patients access primary care, adhere to chronic disease treatment plans, receive post-acute follow-up care, and get home safely after emergency department visits or hospital admissions. Ride Health also supports health plans in 10 states, handling their transportation benefit management.
Leveraged by Ride Health, Uber's network of drivers is a key element of moving patients and staff between their homes and care centers, including hospitals, clinics, rehab centers, senior care facilities, home care centers, and physical therapy centers among others.
"We are proud to team up with Uber Health, which is respected across the healthcare industry not only for its network strength but also for its success in promoting rider safety, its HIPAA controls, and for preventing fraud," Imran Cronk, CEO, and founder of Ride Health, said in a statement. "Our health system and health plan customers appreciate the added flexibility that Uber Health brings to our network via its WAV and UberAssist products, which helps provide assistance to seniors and people with disabilities."