Ride-sharing company Uber is tapping into the lucrative healthcare transportation market by launching Uber Health. By supporting those who need to attend medical appointments, the service will provide an additional revenue stream and open the door for future opportunities for the company.
The initiative is not new, but one which has been fully tested since 2017 with a variety of healthcare providers. Set to be rolled out gradually across the US, the company will deliver a trustworthy, reliable transport solution.
Available both as a digital dashboard, or as an API which can become fully integrated within healthcare organisations, the technology caters for those who also do not own a mobile device.
Adhering to all HIPAA standards, the technology will enable providers to book rides for clients by inputting basic details and selecting a number of vehicle options to best support its users. The client (or patient) will then receive confirmation with all the required details (via smartphone if the user has one), or through a paper-based system, with transport able to be booked up to a month in advance.
All patient data will then be stored on HIPAA compliant servers, and is removed from Uber’s central data storage platforms. This will allow drivers to only be given basic client details, where they will also not be able to selectively work for the health division, unlike other areas under Uber’s umbrella.
Reporting to Techcrunch that over 3mn US citizens miss medical appointments due to the fragility of the medical transport system across the US, Uber Health General Manager Chris Weber has explained that this is costing the US health transport system billions each year.
“Uber’s endeavours into healthcare trace back to 2014, when Uber first offered on-demand flu shots in large markets across the US. Since then there have been similar efforts throughout the world, from diabetes and thyroid testing in India, to subsidised rides for breast cancer screening in the US, to many more.”
The launch of Uber Health follows on from these initial projects, and build on existing ideas to support the consumer market.
The initiative will be a cost-effective solution, where organisations will only be charged for individual rides, with no additional costs attached which will impact healthcare budgets. However, the tool is not to be used as a substitute for emergency services, but will be used to support those who need to attend general appointments within the healthcare sector.