Uber rolls out a new service, Uber Health on Thursday that will be a B2B ride-hailing platform for healthcare providers who can book rides for patients who need assistance getting to and from their medical appointments.
Healthcare providers like hospitals, clinics, rehab centers can book rides for patients and their caregivers from a centralized dashboard. The passengers will not be required to have the Uber app or even a smartphone in order to avail the service.
The service is somewhat similar to the company’s UberCENTRAL business line that provides a ride-booking platform for businesses who want to book rides for their clients. But the UberCENTRAL is also tailored for Healthcare with HIPAA standards compliance letting customers use the service by just a landline.
The ride-hailing giant had been paying a lot of attention to the healthcare industry and has even kept record of patient care statistics. According to Uber Health General Manger, Chris Weber, 3.6 million Americans miss their medical appointments due to unavailability of transport, while every year one third of the total patients don’t show up at their appointments.
“Uber’s endeavors into health care trace back to 2014, when Uber first offered on-demand flu shots in large markets across the U.S.,” he said. “Since then there have been similar efforts throughout the world, from diabetes and thyroid testing in India, to subsidized rides for breast cancer screening in the U.S., to many more. That said, all of these efforts have been pop-ups.”
This led the company to work in the field and create a service which is reliable and impactful and which could at least lower the number of people missing their medical appointments.
After a lot of hard work and consideration the company finally came up with the best service. Uber Health will enable hospitals and clinics to book rides on behalf of their clients, from a centralized dashboard. They will just have to enter the client’s name, number, location and select the type of vehicle. After a ride is booked successfully, the client will get a text message on their device notifying them about their Uber ride. Then they will get a service link and the ride details like who will be picking them up, from where and when, along with a live map showing the live location of their ride.
Uber is also working on notifying the clients about their rides by voice calls on basic phones and landlines. There will be a printout filled by the Heatlhcare provider that clients will be provided at the time of leaving their homes and at the time when they will be leaving the clinic.
Weber notes that all of the trip information will be recorded by Uber Health, only in the client side.
Coming to the business side, Uber will charge the healthcare customers for the individual ride only. Access to the dashboard and other reporting services will be free of charge.
Thanks to a private beta version that was launched last summer, Uber already has more than 100 Healthcare organizations on board. The company has also built an API that will make it easier for Healthcare organizations to add the service into their existing patient management software.
Uber Health, although helping the patients, should not be considered as emergency service vehicles like ambulances. Though it is very easy for Uber to launch its own fleet of ambulances, the company does not have such plans. Weber simply said that Uber-branded ambulances were “not on our road map.”