Every year, approximately 3.6 million Americans miss or delay medical appointments because they don’t have access to reliable transportation. Minorities, people with low incomes, and those with chronic illnesses are affected disproportionately. These cancelations not only affect the individual missing their appointment - leading to untreated symptoms - but can also cause longer wait times and rushed appointments for other patients. In an effort to address the issue, two rideshare companies are using their assets to provide reliable transportation to those in need.
Uber and Lyft have begun addressing the need for on-call transportation to non-emergency medical appointments by partnering with providers and medical transportation companies. The innovation eliminates the need for Medicaid services providers to hire transportation brokers which have been traditionally expensive, time consuming, and ineffective. By partnering with ridesharing services, patients are connected quickly with nearby drivers who can be tracked. To serve this older audience, Uber and Lyft have innovated their business models to an audience who likely doesn’t own a smartphone. To further address the technology gap, hospitals are working with the ridesharing services to allow patients to set up reminders for appointments and access the ride service on the hospital’s website. Lyft has even created a stand-alone website, Concierge, which allows medical providers to schedule rides for patients without having to contact a third party. In addition to the new tech platforms, some companies are providing senior sensitivity training to Lyft drivers to smooth interactions with new customers.
As the need for more efficient medical transportation becomes clear, Uber and Lyft saw an opportunity to use their business models for good. By addressing the needs of an older audience, adjusting the technology and working with partner hospitals, these ridesharing companies have created a more reliable and inexpensive way to get individuals the medical attention they need.