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Introducing Uber Health, Removing Transportation as a Barrier to Care

Michael - Cleveland

Well-Known Member
US | Mar 1, 2018
Introducing Uber Health, Removing Transportation as a Barrier to Care
Written byChris Weber, General Manager, Uber Health

Whether it’s helping seniors regain their independence, providing newfound mobility to those living in underserved areas, or providing a safe alternative to drinking and driving, Uber has changed the way people live their lives in ways that were never expected.

Yet, still, there’s so much more that can be done. We’re unveiling a new service focused on an issue vital to all of us: health. Every year, 3.6 million Americans miss doctor appointments due to a lack of reliable transportation.* No-show rates are as high as 30% nationwide.** And while transportation barriers are common across the general population, these barriers are greatest for vulnerable populations, including patients with the highest burden of chronic disease.

Today, we’re introducing Uber Health as a way to partner with healthcare organizations to provide reliable, comfortable transportation for patients. The dashboard allows healthcare professionals to order rides for patients going to and from the care they need. We are also launching an Uber Health API to enable easy integrations into existing healthcare products. Developed with healthcare in mind, new features include:

  • Flexible ride scheduling for patients, caregivers and staff. Coordinators can schedule rides on behalf of patients, caregivers and staff to take place immediately, within a few hours, or up to 30 days in advance. This allows for transportation to be scheduled for follow-up appointments while still at the healthcare facility. Multiple rides can be scheduled and managed at the same time, all from a single dashboard.
  • Access for patients without a smartphone. Riders don’t need the Uber app, or even a smartphone, to get a ride with Uber Health because it’s all done through text message. We’re even going to be introducing the option for riders to receive a call with trip details to their mobile phone or landline instead. For many, their first ever Uber ride will be through Uber Health, so we’re committed to providing the necessary education tools that ensure every patient feels comfortable and at ease during their journey.
  • Simple billing, reporting, and management. Organizations can easily keep track of what they’re spending on rides. Reporting on requested rides and viewing monthly billing statements, appointments, and scheduling reports is simple.
  • HIPAA Compliance. To ensure Uber Health meets HIPAA standards, we have been working hard to develop, implement, and customize numerous safeguards. We also worked with Clearwater Compliance, a leading HIPAA compliance company, to conduct comprehensive risk and compliance assessments. We are thus pleased to sign Business Associate Agreements (BAAs) with our healthcare partners.

Over 100 healthcare organizations in the U.S, including hospitals, clinics, rehab centers, senior care facilities, home care centers, and physical therapy centers are already using Uber Health as a part of the beta program, including 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. Healthcare technology companies like Bracket Global andCollective Health are also exploring ways that Uber Health can work with their offerings.

“Uber has helped us drastically reduce appointment cancellations. It’s great to be able to quickly request a ride with so that in-need patients can make an appointment they’d otherwise miss. ” – Pete Celano, Director of Consumer Health Initiatives, MedStar Health

“Coordinating rides for patients with Uber Health has been incredibly easy. By allowing us to schedule multiple rides at once we’ve been more productive and able to focus on the patient experience. Our patients have been very receptive and enjoy this wonderful service Uber and Pro Staff Physical Therapy offers.” – Areyls Rodriguez, Receptionist, Clifton ProStaff

“My health crisis was a lot to manage. Knowing I had reliable and comfortable transportation to and from my oncology appointments was one less burden on a very long list.” – Patient, San Diego, CA

Both our dashboard and API are available publicly starting today everywhere in the U.S. Visit www.uberhealth.com to learn more about the unique features designed specifically for health. Keeping our partners and their patients in mind, we’re looking forward to seeing what’s possible when transportation is no longer a barrier to care.

Bob Reynolds

Well-Known Member
This is a recipe for disaster.

1. We are not trained medical providers.
2. We do not have the proper equipment to transport some patients.
3. We have been instructed to NEVER touch the rider. That means we must not help someone get into the ride share vehicle.

4. If for some reason we ignore this and they patient falls out of their wheelchair and hits the ground, while you are helping them into your vehicle then you will be responsible for their fall and possible future medical treatment.

My rule on riders. If you can get into my car under your own power (or with someone that is with you) then we can go.

If you can't get into my vehicle under your own power without my assistance, then we can't go. This includes riders with medical conditions as well as those under the influence of alcohol or drugs that impedes their ability to find the vehicle, enter the vehicle and close the door to the vehicle.

I do not load or unload luggage, wheelchairs or anything else at the rates we are currently getting paid. Those items are loaded and unloaded by the rider. Perhaps, in the future, I will offer this service again if the rates are raised to a more reasonable charge.

This idea ranks up there with the Taco Bell idea that Lyft had last year.


Well-Known Member
My concerns:

1) What if the pax is contagious?
2) What if the pax needs help that I am not physically able to perform or am not qualified to do?


Well-Known Member
All for what is likely a less than $5 trip. No thanks. This is why uber needs as many drivers as possible. There will always be some
schmuck who will take it.


Well-Known Member
I have taken riders that had wheel chairs. Many times. Have an SUV and the room. No issue for me at all!!!!! BUT...Bob is right on the mark.....

> We can't touch a rider. Even healthy elderly ppl need an arm or shoulder to get in or out of my Ubermobile. No big deal here and there....but several times a day. Not good.

> I called my insurance company to see what they think. They flipped out! They will not cover personal injury to a rider "that you physically assist in or out of the vehicle. Period! So who pays for granny when she slips going out of my back door and fractures her whatever? According to Uber support, they cover all this with no deductable to the driver. Okay. Would like to see it in writting.

> Who is going to load and unload wheel chairs and so on? I guess I am. Okay with that. Is good exercise. I load luggage and groceries all the time......but when a $2000 + wheel chair falls and breaks or an oxygen tank breaks and blows up my car....someone other than ME or my insurance company will have to cover it. Again, per Uber we are covered. Hope so!

> I have medical experience. I am well versed at determining if someone is badly hurt or seriously ill.....

Badly hurt = bleeding or yelling in pain.

Seriously ill = they look funny.

Past that....I will call support and hand the phone to the CSR.

> Who is going to cover my down time when a rider gives me something? Flu? Aids? HepC?

I am not against the idea of helping the sick and elderly. I really enjoy it. I go way out of my way every day anywaymto help ppl..... but this idea should have been run by the drivers first. I cannot see how we will be able to make this a safe trip for the driver and rider.

> There is also the question of fees. Loading a wheel chair etc takes time. Getting riders with disabilities in and out safely takes time. Will we get paid more for wait and loading time? Will we be paid if we have to wait for EMS to arrive? God forbid something happens and I have to stop and call 911.

UBER please think this thru more carefully before you jump on this one. PLEASE.


Well-Known Member
Who comes up with this stuff?
The marketing kids -- it's a HUGE and rapidly-developing market. Just wait until Amazon gets into healthcare.

As a driver, you have every right to deny service to anyone you don't feel comfortable transporting.

I've done a number of these rides (although none via UberHealth, as far as I know) and I have not had any problematic rides. Nor have I had any patients that any driver could not safely transport. The worst pax problem I've had with this type of ride has been patients who take a little more time getting in and out.

On the other hand, I'm an EMT with 10 years of experience. I know what to look for, what medical conditions and symptoms might mean, and what to do if the patient becomes emergent during a ride (never happened yet). YMMV.

There is a LOT more risk picking up random people for rides to an ER than there is in accepting rides scheduled by medical offices. If the office thinks a patient will need extra care, they will order specialized transportation -- not because they're being nice to their wonderful Uber drivers, but to avoid liability to themselves.

Bottom line: if you're not comfortable, don't take the ride.

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