Ride sharing companies are plunging into the healthcare business, seeing a big opportunity in ferrying the millions of people who miss medical appointments every year. Additionally, 25 percent of lower-income patients have missed or rescheduled their appointments due to lack of transportation, Lyft says.
Last week, Uber Health went live after an eight-month trial with 100 health care providers that tested the ride-hailing service as a way to ensure that eligible patients weren't no-shows for appointments. On Monday, the transportation company announced a new goal to cut the so-called health care transportation gap in half by 2020.
By leveraging a Lyft-developed API and Allscripts open platform, the functionally enable clinicians and ancillary staff to order the Lyft service for patients through an automated workflow, he added. Allscripts hopes this EHR-integrated functionality will help to provide a reliable way for providers to schedule transportation for patients.
Last week, Uber introduced Uber Health, a service that allows hospitals, doctor's offices, and other health systems to order an Uber for their patients. "We have been working hard to develop, implement, and customize numerous safeguards", says Uber Health's general manager. Riders don't need the Uber app, or even a smartphone, to get a ride with Uber Health because it's all done through text message.
Uber wants to expand the service so that passengers with landlines can get trip details that way, the Verge noted.
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With both Uber and Lyft, health care providers use a custom desktop platform that allows them to schedule multiple rides at once. Reiss said Uber has not yet responded to the lawsuit.
Uber employees have also been accused of abusing customer data.
Aside from customer privacy, experts cautioned that Ubers should not be treated like ambulances.
'The burden on the platform and the health-care provider to ensure against something going wrong with the patient is a lot higher if the patient is calling the vehicle themselves, ' Arun Sundararajan, a professor at New York University, told the Atlantic.
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.