Uber Health is rolling out new features designed to reduce issues for patients and providers when it comes to arranging patient rides to and from appointments and hospital discharges. Since it’s launch in March 2018, Uber Health has grown 300% year on year.
Currently, more than 1,000 healthcare organizations use Uber’s healthcare services. The new features being launched for the medical transportation system include multilingual notifications, scheduling for landline phone users, and a direct driver messaging app. The new features were slowly introduced in late 2019, but they will be widely available by April 2020.
Both Uber and Lyft have been making their way into the healthcare space by fulfilling the need for provider-requested ride services. According to executives from Uber Health, it’s goal is to enable deeper technological connectivity between healthcare and ridesharing.
Patient pickups can be challenging depending on the size of a hospital campus – especially when all the buildings share the same street address. To address that issue in conjunction with the matter of language barriers, Uber Health now allows healthcare providers to send pickup instructions to riders in 44 different languages. Patients receive the information via text message.
To reach the segment of the population that does not use smartphones, Uber Health has also established landline scheduling for patients. Caregivers and providers can schedule a ride for a patient. The patient will then receive an automated landline phone call with ride details including the make and model of the car, driver’s name, and license plate number. This will help them verify their ride and ensure they get to their appointment on time. According to Akarshan Kumar, the product lead for Uber Health, “We have realized that we have a diverse base of users and we are serving patients who are young to much older patients. Our users range from people who are really familiar with technology and smartphones to people who don’t own smartphones and who are new to ride-sharing in general.”
The direct driver message app allows healthcare providers to message drivers directly on the Uber app. This will allow drivers to stay on the app, instead of toggling between the app and their text messages. This is being done in hopes of making the pickup process easier for drivers.
The new Uber Health features were designed based on feedback from healthcare organizations regarding the problems with the nonemergency medical transportation patient experience. To ensure the technology is not preventing someone from getting the care they need, the service plans to expand and adjust as needed.