The partnership will allow patients in a chronic care management plan to access medical transportation via Uber Health rideshare.
Uber Health has unveiled a new partnership with Pack Health, a digital health coaching and chronic care management provider. The partnership will extend Uber Health’s rideshare capabilities to address medical transportation barriers and patient care access.
Non-emergency medical transportation – or transportation to medical appointments that are not timely and do not require an on-site medical team – is a challenge for millions of patients across the country.
Data from the American Hospital Association (AHA) revealed that 3.6 million patients do not access medical care because they do not have access to transportation. Four percent of all children miss a medical appointment due to transportation issues.
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Those care access and transportation barriers can be detrimental for any patient, not to mention patients managing a chronic illness that require routine check-ups.
Providing access to social services such as non-emergency medical transportation is an essential part of a comprehensive chronic disease management program and a main impetus for the partnership with Uber Health, Pack Health leaders said.
“One of the most valuable parts of the Pack Health Member Experience is what we call ‘Concierge Services’ – where we connect members to resources or provide personalized plans to help individuals overcome social determinants of health on an as-needed basis,” Mazi Rasulnia, PhD, President and CEO of Pack Health, said in a statement.
“Sometimes that’s a personalized diet or exercise plan, but other times it’s more basic. For members who lack reliable means of transportation, or whose health prevents them from driving themselves to key follow up appointments, offering a free ride through Uber Health is a simple and intuitive way to close care gaps.”
The partnership with Uber Health will allow Pack Health providers and health coaches to connect patients to healthcare via non-emergency medical transportation and rideshare services. The Pack Health provider will be able to identify patients experiencing transportation barriers and request a ride for them to chronic care medical appointments.
Patients will not need to access the Uber app or have a smartphone to use the service, the companies said. Following a ride request, a text message will be pushed to the patient detailing the scheduled ride information. The patient can confirm and trigger the ride when they are ready by replying to that initial text message.
“We are excited about the opportunity to partner with Pack Health and value working with an organization that places its focus on capturing data on patients’ access, outcomes and experience,” Dan Trigub, head of Uber Health, said. “By working together, we can deliver a broad spectrum of services that support the patients’ journey to better health.”
Pack Health also outlined its plans to monitor and assess the effectiveness of leveraging the rideshare platform. The health coaching provider plans to track usage and leverage surveying tools to follow-up with patients who have used the service. This will be integral for improving the program to help the greatest proportion of patients.
Uber Health, which is a medical-focused offshoot of the rideshare corporation, was launched in March 2018 for the precise purpose of forging partnerships with healthcare providers. Uber Health serves as its own provider-facing dashboard on which medical professionals can schedule rides for their patients.
Patients may also access the dashboard of use the service through SMS message.
Several leading healthcare organizations have been using the Uber Health platform as a part of a pilot project, including MedStar Health, NYU Perlmutter Cancer Center, and Yale New Haven Health.
At MedStar, the Uber Health dashboard has helped reduce appointment cancellations stemming from lack of medical transportation.
“Uber has helped us drastically reduce appointment cancellations,” MedStar Health Director of Consumer Health Initiatives Pete Celano said in a press release. “It’s great to be able to quickly request a ride with so that in-need patients can make an appointment they’d otherwise miss.”
The upswing in partnerships with organizations like Lyft of Uber Health represent healthcare organizations’ growing consciousness that investing in the social determinants of health will yield return on investment.
Although there is not enough evidence yet to suggest the cost savings an organization may see by subsidizing medical transportation for high-needs patients, the current industry culture is suggesting this is the right move.
As more organizations continue to focus on chronic disease management, an evidence base for supporting the social needs associated with chronic care will likely build.
Date: June 21, 2019