Source: Health Policy Institute of Ohio
Ride-sharing companies have plunged into the health care business, seeing a big opportunity in providing transportation to the 3.6 million people who miss medical appointments each year (Source: “Uber and Lyft Think They can Solve one of Medicine’s Biggest Problems,” Washington Post, March 1, 2018).
On March 1, Uber announced the public launch of Uber Health, a dashboard that will allow health care providers to schedule rides for patients. Lyft has crafted a number of partnerships over the past few years, working with health insurers, hospital systems, and medical transport services to help patients get to and from medical care providers, in nonemergency situations.
No-show patients are a real problem in medicine, but it’s far from clear whether ride-sharing services scheduled by providers are the solution. A study of nearly 800 Medicaid patients in West Philadelphia found that offering to schedule free Lyft rides to and from primary care appointments didn’t decrease the number of missed appointments compared to a group of people not offered the service. That work, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, calls into question whether simply expanding the availability of ride-sharing services would help solve the problem.
“The study results really contradicted what we’ve seen with other partners, again and again,” said Gyre Renwick, a vice president of Lyft Business.