Health systems and hospitals across the United States are teaming up with ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft to reduce the likelihood of missed appointments, according to a recent article from The Atlantic.
MedStar Health, a non-profit healthcare system with hospitals in Maryland and Washington, D.C., launched a partnership with Uber in January to enable patients who make use of Uber to access the ride-hailing service while on the hospital’s website and even schedule reminders for appointments. Those patients who do not have access to the Uber app are able to set up an Uber ride by calling the hospital’s patient advocates, according to the article.
HackensackUMC, a non-profit teaching and research hospital located in Bergen County, N.J., offers a similar partnership that integrates Uber’s ridesharing services throughout the hospital experience.
Ralatient, a healthcare communication company, teamed up with Uber this summer to fully integrate the Uber app into text and email messages to patients delivered by Relatient. “Patients who miss medical appointments or have to reschedule at the last minute frequently cite transportation as a factor,” said Rob Daniel, product partnerships lead, Uber. “We’re very excited about the collaboration with Relatient because it will give people a simple way to plan their appointments and ensure they always have access to a reliable ride when they need one.”
According to a press release from Uber, Relatient and Uber are sponsoring a “Ride to Health Week” Aug. 22–Aug. 26, offering a ride discount to anyone in the United States who requests an Uber through Relatient to get to or from an appointment with a participating provider.
As noted in The Atlantic article, patients are likely to miss an appointment when going to a visit becomes a hassle, which can then lead to untreated symptoms or deteriorating health.
“Transportation can make it difficult for people to see health care providers in a regular basis,” said Ben Gerber, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago who has studied patient transportation issues, as cited by The Atlantic. “It is important to see healthcare professionals regularly, especially for patients with diabetes or asthma.”