Uber Health launches with tools to help patients get to medical appointments


Yesterday, Uber threw its hat into the ring by launching Uber Health: a HIPAA compliant B2B service that aims to ferry people to and from medical appointments, whether or not they have an Uber account or even a smartphone.

The ride-hailing company Thursday announced the launch of Uber Health, a desktop platform for healthcare providers that allows doctors to provide rides for patients who might otherwise miss their appointments because they can't get to them. And they can be booked for immediate pickup or up to 30 days in advance. Individuals who are not familiar with the Uber app can still access service via text or a landline, according to Uber. The providers cover the cost of the rides.

Uber is trying to solve a problem, apparently missed doctors' appointments cost around $150 billion each year and that 3.6 million Americans miss appointments because of transportation issues. There's also an API so that organizations can integrate Uber Health into existing healthcare products. Like a typical Uber ride, only a passenger's name, pickup and drop-off addresses will be given to the driver. However, as Uber expands its sights into helping seniors with the new initiative, the traditional Uber service faces new and continuing lawsuits over its WAV, or wheelchair-accessible vehicle service.

It can also be convenient for family members who may have to give up their time and adjust their schedules to drive their loved one to the doctor.

"I just picked up someone with back surgery the other day", he says. This could mean better healthcare for underserved communities regardless of their age, location, and access to technology. "But some people might be squeamish, and not want to".

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The digital dashboard, which adheres to the federal privacy law HIPAA, lets doctors alert patients to their rides via SMS messages or by printing out a piece of paper.

The new service, called Uber Health, will allow health care providers to book a ride for you.

These features include, firstly, flexible ride scheduling for patients, caregivers and staffers.

Uber Health is now being used by more than 100 healthcare organizations in the United States including clinics, hospitals, rehab centers, senior care facilities, and more as part of a beta program.