Uber launches Uber Health, a B2B ride-hailing platform for healthcare

Uber launches Uber Health, a B2B ride-hailing platform for healthcare

Health care providers, not patients, will be billed for the ride.

Whorley, who has been driving for Uber for more than two years, is more skeptical about picking up people without smartphones.

To rectify the situation, Uber has partnered with numerous healthcare organizations to allow medical professionals to schedule rides for their patients.

The Watertown, Massachusetts, company had used taxis before switching to Uber. The team claims 3.6 million Americans miss doctor appointments each year due to unreliable transportation, while no-show rates in some corners of the United States could be up to 30%. The system, which is now in beta testing with over 100 organisations across America, can arrange transportation up to a month ahead of time, giving health providers ample scope for managing follow-up care. The company has been testing Uber Health in beta with more than 100 healthcare organizations.

Uber Health says it is HIPAA compliant, with multiple safeguards built in to protect patient confidentiality.

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The best part is, you don't even need to have access to a smartphone or the Uber app to use the service. Rides cost approximately the same amount as they would via the normal Uber app. A health care provider can book a ride for patients and caregivers immediately, within a few hours, or with 30 days' notice. Uber has thus teamed up with healthcare organizations to provide reliable transportation for patients.

Interestingly, Uber was already breaking into healthcare before this initiative.

The ride-hailing platform will also comply to Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Some 3.6 million Americans, including almost 1 million children, miss doctor appointments each year because they don't have reliable transportation, according to a Community Transportation Association report.

"We want to make [Uber] accessible to patients whether they're familiar with Uber or not", said Chris Weber, general manager of Uber Health, told CNN. In 2014, it offered on-demand flu shots in the US. "That's good business for our customers". CareMore Health System found in a pilot study in 2016 that using Lyft was cheaper than other forms of transportation and patients spent less time waiting for a ride. "We certainly have some ideas of places we can take this in the future and other things that we might be interested in doing, but as of right now, it's just a matter of getting this first thing right".