The service is also different from Uber's previous offerings in the heath care space, namely UberASSIST, which can serve patients with disabilities or who may need help getting from door to door.
Numerous rides are provided to people who can't drive-either because of age, poverty or medical condition-and Medicare and Medicaid providers cover at least some of the cost of transportation. Uber said it hopes Uber Health will alleviate the matter of 3.6 million Americans missing their appointments each year due to inadequate transportation. Hospitals, doctors and other providers could be eager to pay for those rides if it means more on-time appointments and fewer no-shows - which translates into more revenue in their pockets.
"Uber has helped us drastically reduce appointment cancellations".
The ride-hailing firm has been testing Uber Health with a beta group of hospitals and doctors since July, but the service is officially launching starting on Thursday. However, using Uber as an ambulance can put a driver in an awkward position for suddenly taking on a job they weren't trained for.
Uber Health's data is "cordoned off" from Uber's other data and only a select number of employees are given access to it, he said.
The auto can either be sent to the patient's house, or it can pick patients up at a medical facility and take them home.
Additionally, if a patient experiences some kind of medical emergency in an Uber, the company says the driver is encouraged to call 911.
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Since the facilities are willing to shell out their own dollars, then there must be a worthwhile benefit for them, the biggest one being a reduction in the amount of missed appointments, which costs the USA healthcare system more than $150 billion a year thanks to 3.6 million Americans who miss their schedules appointments.
This ends up costing the health care system about $150 billion each year.
Uber Health won't require the Uber app, as information about the ride can be delivered via SMS text message-opening the service up to even standard feature phone users.
Uber has already brought ride-sharing services to food delivery through Uber Eats and to companies though Uber Business.
Transportation is, indeed, a barrier to good health care.
As great as Uber Health sounds, it's perhaps understandable to be a bit skeptical of the service given Uber's track record when it comes to handling sensitive data.
Uber Health is now being used by more than 100 healthcare organizations in the United States including clinics, hospitals, rehab centers, senior care facilities, and more as part of a beta program.