Uber Health: The Latest Healthcare Disruption
by: The Knowledge Group
Uber recently announced a new health service, Uber Health, that will transport people to and from hospitals and other medical care providers. The announcement comes at just the right time as the cost of ambulance rides spikes higher and higher. Uber’s service is cheaper yet it might not prove as timely as ambulance services. There is a good chance this new competitor will spark a price war between the ride sharing company and ambulances.
The Basics of Uber Health
Uber Health will team up with medical care providers to coordinate patient rides to and from healthcare facilities. The coordination of these rides will take place on a specialized digital platform. The Uber Health digital dashboard complies with HIPAA (patient privacy laws) in all ways. It is a convenient means of connecting care providers with patients. The dashboard allows for communication through SMS messages. There is also the option of a paper component so those who do not use a smartphone can still participate. The system will likely prove highly efficient, reducing the number of missed appointments and saving upwards of hundreds of billions of dollars each year.
The drivers who transport patients to and from medical appointments will be the same drivers who transport traditional Uber customers. This way, the patient can avoid the hassle of driving if saddled with medical problems or simply due to the lack of access to a vehicle. Providers pay for the cost of the ride. From transporting low-income patients to doctor’s appointments, nursing homes, hospitals and beyond, Uber Health will likely change the healthcare landscape for the better. The beta version of Uber Health has been in testing since this past summer. More than 100 healthcare organizations have joined the program. Groups ranging from physical therapy providers to rehab facilities, hospitals and senior care providers have joined. Examples of early Uber Health users include Georgetown Home Care and New York University’s Perlmutter Cancer Center.
Uber Health’s Potential Flaws
It is interesting to note doctors and other medical care providers participating in Uber Health will have complete control over what services it is to be used for. If the cost of transporting patients proves egregiously high, it is possible some care providers will exit the program and revert back to the status quo. There is also the matter of efficiency. Ambulances will undoubtedly transport patients faster than an Uber Health driver. Stay tuned. Uber Health just might make some waves in the healthcare transportation industry.
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