Uber and Lyft have quickly become the top rideshare companies in the United States. These companies provide rides for any customer for any reason. Need to get to the store? Use an app to order an Uber. Need a “lift” to work? Lyft can help you. These rideshare services have also become popular among the late-night crowds in cities and towns all over the country. No longer do you have to wait to flag down a cab. Just simply download the service app on your phone and order a ride when you are ready to leave.
But what if you need a ride to the hospital or for a follow-up appointment? Can you order an Uber or Lyft? This is becoming a possibility as both companies are working their way into the in an effort to increase their customer base and help providers offer a better service to their patients. Doctors and medical providers are moving towards a rideshare service for transport for the same reasons that millions of people across the country use Uber and Lyft: it’s a door-to-door service that allows you to track your ride for a cheap fee.
The system is not entirely altruistic. Health care providers lose $150 billion per year across the country because of missed appointments by their patients. No-show rates are as high as 30% annually across the nation. Still, the argument can be made for a win/win: patients receive the follow-up care they need, and health care providers don’t lose out on revenue.
Uber Health is now active
Uber Health launched back in March 2018 after eight months of trials. When it launched, there were 100 health care providers in the program. It was launched to help eligible patients make it to their doctor appointments instead of being no-shows due to the inability to leave the home.
Not long after Uber Health launched, Lyft launched its own service, which is a partnership with Allscripts. The partnership includes seven million patients across the country at 2,500 hospitals and 180,000 doctors.
How does it work?
Healthcare providers are able to schedule rides for their patients using a dashboard with either Uber or Lyft. The doctors determine which patients are eligible for the rides and the fees are paid for by the providers, most often subsidized by insurance coverage. The goal of using Uber and Lyft is to ensure that at-risk patients, such as the elderly and those with dementia, have a way to get to their doctor appointments or to the hospital. It’s also being used to ensure patients recently discharged from the hospital are able to attend their check-up appointment in the days that follow.
Potential problems with rideshare vehicle for the ill or injured
Using a rideshare service to hitch a ride to the hospital is slowly gaining steam, according to a study from the University of Kansas regarding the use of ambulances in a total of 43 states. The study found that people using ambulances has dropped by 7%, and the reason for the decline is the use of rideshare services such as Uber and Lyft. For non-emergencies, this is good news: it frees up the ambulances, and costs patients less money. But the study also warned that using Uber or Lyft should not replace the use of an ambulance.
Some patients will require a driver to have some sort of medical certification, such as CPR, and this is where Uber and Lyft fall short. Veyo is a non-emergency transport broker that is just two years old. Veyo requires its drivers to have CPR certification, go through background checks, and have the same qualifications as a health care commercial driver would have.
Patients with disabilities may not be able to use these services either, due to the lack of wheelchair-accessible vehicles. Uber and Lyft also require that patients download the apps, which means those patients need smart phones. For this reason, the service may not be available (or convenient) for low-income patients or for the elderly.
Uber, Lyft, and other rideshare services may be great for getting around, but the jury is still out when it comes to health care. If you were hurt in a car accident involving an Uber or Lyft vehicle, Bailey & Greer, PLLC can help. Please call 901-475-7434 to schedule a consultation with a Memphis injury attorney. You can also fill out our contact form. We have offices in Memphis and Jackson and serve all of West Tennessee.