The announcement comes after years of Uber's lack of accommodations for people with physical disabilities, according to advocacy organizations, and it's unclear that the company will address it with this new service. Companies like Collective Health (which recently announced a $110 million fundraise) are seeking ways to bring Uber Health into their offerings.
It's not a replacement for ambulances, but instead a way for patients to get to and from their scheduled appointments. The study examined the use of ride shares in getting patients to primary care appointments, but it's possible that it might be more useful in settings where adherence to appointments may be more critical, such as oncology.
Hospitals, rehab centers, and senior care facilities -and more than 100 organizations across the USA - are already using a beta version of the program.
Healthcare organizations can schedule rides for patients and employees through the existing Uber online network, according to the site.
Those riders who take advantage of the transport do not need access to the Uber app or even a smartphone, the firm said, as confirmation and other information is provided over text message. For many providers, the cost, which is no higher than a regular Uber ride, can be worth it.
Here, on behalf of patients, caregivers, and staff, the coordinators can schedule rides for few hours or up to 30 days in advance.
Providers pay for the service in a single monthly bill, but can access patient accounts to monitor expenses and other metrics, such as usage frequency and trip durations, Uber Health said.
Chris Weber, General Manager of Uber Health, said in a statement to The Verge, "We built this service from the ground-up in a fully HIPAA-compliant technology stack.It was architected from Day One". Firstly, it would be limited to markets where the healthcare is driven by insurance. It has previously delivered flu shots, driven people to get tested for diabetes and for breast cancer screenings, and provided haze masks in Singapore.
For many people, the only thing worse than having to go to the doctor is figuring out how to get to and from the doctor's office. Our beta period over the course of the last eight months was 100 percent focused on ensuring that the healthcare professionals who are using this system, and the patients who are riding in these cars, and the drivers as well, are having a good experience.
While this is certainly an interesting idea, it might have limited success.