Uber starts offering rides to the doctor, health care providers

Erica Roy
March 4, 2018

Rideshare company Uber announced Thursday that it would be partnering with local health care facilities to offer patients rides to their doctors' offices.

But now, Uber itself has a new offering.

Patients will not need to use the main Uber app or even have a smartphone to use the new service.

Uber has introduced a new service aimed at USA healthcare professionals.

There's one patient contingent that likely would find issue with the average Uber ride: people in wheelchairs.

Healthcare organizations are billed each month for the cost of patient rides, which are on par with standard Uber rates at the time of the ride booking.

As great as Uber Health sounds, it's perhaps understandable to be a bit skeptical of the service given Uber's track record when it comes to handling sensitive data. According to Uber Health's About page, Uber has been looking into capitalizing on the market for health transportation since July of a year ago. A passenger is then contacted via text or call with additional trip details.

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"We want to make [Uber] accessible to patients whether they're familiar with Uber or not", Chris Weber, general manager of Uber Health, told CNN. Rutrick said taxis were more expensive and required advance planning to get a cab to drive an hour or two to pick someone up.

"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".

Uber is making a foray into the lucrative business of healthcare. The company is positioning itself as a cheaper and more reliable option than most non-emergency medical transportation.

The Watertown, Massachusetts, company had used taxis before switching to Uber.

Providers taking part in the beta program include Adams Clinical, Blood Centers of the Pacific, Georgetown Home Care, LifeBridge Health, MedStar Health, Manhattan Women's Health, NYU Perlmutter Cancer Center, Pro Staff Physical Therapy, ProActive Work Health Services, Project Open Hand, Renown Health, Thundermist Health Center and Yale New Haven Health.

For some, getting to the doctors or hospital is a real struggle - especially if they're needing medical attention because of a condition which inhibits their ability to move.

"Many doctors call cabs for their patients, but Uber is available in about 250 USA cities and is sometimes cheaper than a metered taxi". 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%.

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