Uber Announces Program to Get Patients to Medical Appointments

An Uber waits for a client in New York City. The company is partnering with health care organizations to provide patients with reliable transportation

They point to research that says millions of Americans miss appointments each year due to transportation problems.

To rectify the situation, Uber has partnered with numerous healthcare organizations to allow medical professionals to schedule rides for their patients.

Additionally, in New Orleans, Uber has a platform called Uber ASSIST for individuals with mobility issues. The announcement comes after years of Uber's lack of accommodations for people with physical disabilities, according to advocacy organizations, and it's unclear that the company will address it with this new service.

Uber says 100 healthcare providers around the U.S., such as hospitals, rehab centers and senior care facilities, have already been using a beta version of Uber Health, and now the tech is ready for a wider rollout. The service is coordinated through text messaging, so patients who don't have smartphones can use it.

"Uber's endeavors into health care trace back to 2014, when Uber first offered on-demand flu shots in large markets across the US", he said, regarding the genesis of the focus on health within Uber.

Uber has announced a new healthcare initiative in the United States to help transport patients to and from medical appointments.

Uber began testing the service last summer.

"At this point, owning a smartphone is a barrier to entry to be able to use the Uber ecosystem".

"We want to make [Uber] accessible to patients whether they're familiar with Uber or not", said Chris Weber, general manager of Uber Health, told CNN. The company also plans to introduce the option for passengers to receive a call with trip details to their landline instead.

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. Uber says it has worked with Clearwater Compliance to assess its Uber Health platform to help ensure it meets HIPAA standards. Uber, and its US competitor Lyft, want to chip away at the problem.

The size of the opportunity has so piqued Uber's interest that the company has deployed low-tech solutions in its pilot programs. Among users of the service are NYU's Perlmutter Cancer Center, Georgetown Home Care and Yale New Haven Health.

Uber is making a foray into the lucrative business of healthcare.

Uber Health takes this on by allowing medical facilities to book travel on a patient's behalf.

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