Lyft has crafted a number of partnerships over the past few years, working with health insurers, hospital systems and medical transport services to help patients get to and from medical care, in non-emergency situations.
In a bid to make their new service as accessible as possible, Uber will be using text messages and optional voice calls to coordinate and schedule rides through the service rather than forcing individuals to use a dedicated app.
The Uber Health dashboard allows healthcare professionals to order rides for patients going to and from healthcare appointments. The team claims 3.6 million Americans miss doctor appointments each year due to unreliable transportation, while no-show rates in some corners of the USA could be up to 30%. Jay Holley, head of Partnerships at Uber Health, said it's up to the doctors and providers to understand a person's physical state to know if an Uber vehicle is the best form of transportation for them.
It makes sense when you realize that older people are less likely to own a smartphone, or any kind of mobile device, for that matter, which they would need to be able to use Uber. They can also schedule and manage more than one ride at a time using the company's HIPAA-compliant dashboard.
"First, they see how much Lyft has rolled up their sleeves in healthcare, so the official trigger was a simple reaction to their main competitor". Patients' personal Uber accounts are also not connected to the ride hailed by the health care provider, according to Holley.
The drivers serving Uber Health are regular Uber drivers.
"Every year, 3.6 million Americans miss doctor appointments due to a lack of reliable transportation", wrote Uber Health general manager Chris Weber in a blog post announcing the launch". So Uber drivers won't be able to opt into the health service the same way that they opt into Uber Eats, a food delivery service. The ride-hailing service can operate exclusively through text message, guaranteeing access for those without smart devices.
Uber said more than 100 hospitals, clinics and other healthcare centres had already signed up to the beta version of Uber Health. Providers will not be charged a monthly subscription fee or any similar fee, just the cost of the ride.