Lyft Concierge & Uber Health: What You Need to Know About Rideshare Medical Transit
For many individuals, finding a ride to the doctor’s office or the hospital can be a challenge. Public transportation can get expensive and be inconvenient, and many specialized services are in short supply. Recently, rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft have moved into the non-emergency medical transport arena with Uber Health and Lyft Concierge.
What Is Rideshare Healthcare Transportation?
Non-emergency medical transportation is not new. It’s a type of service for patients to visit their healthcare providers, even if they don’t have access to a vehicle or traditional public transportation. However, most providers (typically municipal providers) are based locally with limited offerings.
The burden of payment typically also falls onto the patient and not the medical organization. As a result, millions of patients still miss doctors appointments regularly because they don’t have a suitable option.
Both Lyft and Uber are hoping to become big players in the industry by making non-emergency medical transit more affordable, reliable, and convenient. These three qualities are already the basis of their rideshare models, so it makes sense that they’d expand their service range. These are also the three qualities that the current medical transportation industry is lacking.
Everything You Need to Know About Lyft Concierge
Lyft Concierge is one of the rideshare company’s business services. Initially, the service was designed with general business needs in mind. Companies like Ascension and JetBlue have been using Lyft Concierge to provide rides for employees and customers for some time.
In 2017, Lyft began a partnership with Denver Health to provide rides to its patients. According to a case study on the program, it has significantly lowered complaints about transportation, while giving Denver Health important geographical data about where their services are needed.
Denver Health uses the patient advocate office to track the number of complaints about lack of adequate transportation. Prior to the Lyft partnership, patient advocates received complaints daily. Since the partnership was launched, there have been zero complaints recorded about lack of transportation. The hospital also tracks the number of rides per location, to determine where the greatest community needs are located. Denver Health has found that the Lyft program is a great benefit to patients for whom English is a second language.
Medical providers can sign up with the Lyft Business platform to arrange rides for patients using Lyft Concierge. However, it’s not designed solely for the rules and regulations of the healthcare industry.
For heightened security and to meet HIPAA requirements, hospitals, clinics, and other patient organizations can utilize the Concierge API to implement the service within their own system-wide software or applications.
How It Works
Any healthcare organization can utilize Lyft Concierge service as long as they sign up for a Lyft Business account. Appointments are made by the healthcare provider — not the patient. Rides can be requested up to one week in advance, but the service isn’t yet available for longer timeframes.
One of the biggest perks of Lyft Concierge is that patients don’t need access to the platform. Even as riders, they aren’t required to use the Lyft app. The system also allows healthcare providers to create special ride pick-up and drop-off locations at their facility. Such a feature provides patients with the highest level of convenience.
Where Is It Available?
Until recently, businesses had to be invited to join the network. Now, Lyft Concierge is available in all of Lyft’s U.S. markets. When making a booking, clients are able to request special styles of vehicles when they’re available.
Everything You Need to Know About Uber Health
Unlike Concierge, Uber Health is designed solely around the needs of the healthcare industry. It also exists on a separate platform from other business options. This design choice gives it a slight edge over Lyft Concierge.
The separation has made it easy to create a HIPAA-compliant dashboard. Following HIPAA regulations is one of the biggest challenges for the medical industry, and Uber Health makes it easy for them to stay compliant. Plus, clients also have the option to integrate the Uber Health API into their own network for easy and secure access.
The service is available 24-hours per day, which is incredibly convenient in the world of medicine. Many patients need to arrive early for outpatient procedures and tests. Uber Health ensures they arrive on time without any hiccups.
How It Works
To access the service, healthcare organizations simply need to create an Uber Health account. There is a wait time of around five days to get the account ready. Once it is, the Uber customer support team will reach out and provide assistance.
Through the dashboard, clients can book rides for their patients up to 30 days in advance. They can also request rides for immediate service. Passengers are notified of the booking via text message, and then they’re contacted again once the driver is on their way. However, patients don’t need access to the Uber app at all.
During the ride, healthcare clients can monitor the trip in real time. They’re also able to see an accurate ETA for the journey. Uber Health clients are billed monthly instead of instantly. This process allows healthcare organizations to have the opportunity to review all of the charges ahead of payment.
Where Is It Available?
Uber Health is available in all of its rideshare markets in the U.S. Healthcare providers have the option to arrange rides for any style of Uber obtainable in the platform. The only real issue that may arise is accessibility for mobility-restricted passengers.
UberWAV is designed to support the needs of motorized wheelchair and scooters users, but the on-demand transportation option is only currently available in four cities: Chicago, New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C. Such a limited market could cause a problem for customers in the rest of the country.
How Do Lyft Concierge & Uber Health Affect Drivers?
Lyft and Uber drivers shouldn’t expect much of a change in their day-to-day activities. In fact, if you’ve been driving in the last year, you’ve probably already given some Lyft or Uber medical transport rides.
The two biggest issues for drivers are ratings and tipping. Riders aren’t in charge of the ride specifics — all of the booking and payments go through the each services’ dashboard. This means that passengers aren’t able to rate drivers. It’s also likely that drivers won’t receive tips. Unfortunately, neither Lyft nor Uber has announced any plans to help combat the tipping problem as of yet.
Have you driven a medical transport ride for Lyft Concierge or Uber Health yet? Let us know below.