Uber Health wants to deliver you to the doctor

On Thursday, Uber launched Uber Health, in which the company partners with healthcare organizations to shuttle patients to and from the doctor's office.

"Uber doesn't really offer that yet", says Needham.

Similar to Uber Health, patients don't need a smartphone and can schedule rides with drivers via text message.

Uber Health's creation was rooted in some alarming statistics about patient care and healthcare client absentee rates.

Last April, reporting by outlets such as Stat indicated that people are opting to use Uber and other ride sharing services in place of an ambulance, which in extreme cases, can cost thousands of dollars.

"Uber's endeavors into health care trace back to 2014, when Uber first offered on-demand flu shots in large markets across the USA", he said, regarding the genesis of the focus on health within Uber. The company says the tech service complies with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (better known as HIPAA), and healthcare organizations will be billed for the rides.

Uber Health, or for that matter Lyft Concierge, are not created to be used as ambulance alternatives. Jay Holley, head of Partnerships at Uber Health, said it's up to the doctors and providers to understand a person's physical state to know if an Uber vehicle is the best form of transportation for them. Uber will also add an option for riders to receive a call with their trip details to their mobile phone or landline instead.

"There are a lot of people out there who are not going to the doctor simply because they can't physically make it there", said Uber Health executive Jay Holley.

Numerous rides are provided to people who can't drive-either because of age, poverty or medical condition-and Medicare and Medicaid providers cover at least some of the cost of transportation. As part of the agreement, Uber must hire a firm to audit its privacy practices every two years over the next 20 years.

Uber's competitor Lyft also has several partnerships with healthcare organizations. The data will never be stored on Uber's own servers, according to the company.

Everyone needs to visit a doctor at some point, but not everyone can drive there. Transport can be an issue for everyone, but even more so for elderly patients, particularly those with debilitating conditions that limit their mobility. After the testing proved to be a success, the service became available to the public.

  • Gwendolyn Kim