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Uber Health Adds Groceries, OTC Items to Home Delivery Platform

Analysis  |  By Eric Wicklund  
   June 13, 2023

The new services are designed to help healthcare providers and payers address key social determinants of health that affect healthcare access and outcomes.

Uber is expanding its healthcare capabilities to help providers and payers address more social determinants of health.

The rideshare company's healthcare arm, which launched in 2018 and currently focuses on non-emergency medical transportation and prescription delivery, will soon be adding groceries and over-the-counter (OTC) items delivered to the home through its Uber Eats platform.

“Value-based care is the future of healthcare, but it’s complex and labor-intensive to deliver and scale,” Caitlin Donovan, global head of Uber Health, said in a press release. “Our platform streamlines coordination across multiple benefits—non-emergency medical transportation, prescription delivery, and food and over-the-counter medication delivery, empowering payers and providers to support patients beyond the four walls of a medical office.”

The announcement tucks in nicely with the ongoing effort by health systems and payers to identify and address SDOH, or non-clinical factors that affect healthcare outcomes. This includes transportation, housing, employment, family life, education, and societal and cultural influences.

Providers and payers have been targeting transportation issues for years with programs that help patients find rides to and from scheduled healthcare appointments, an effort that has helped to reduce delayed appointments and no-shows that can ultimately affect care management and outcomes.

Many are now looking to the food-as-medicine movement, which addresses food insecurity and dietary issues that can also affect health outcomes. Studies cited by Uber Health have found that healthy meal delivery services can cut 1.6 million hospitalizations a year, reducing medical costs by some $13.6 billion, while patients who don't have access to health meals tend to incur 16% more healthcare costs than those with access to healthy meals.

"As food as medicine programs increase in prevalence and yield promising early results, Uber Health’s expansion into grocery and OTC item delivery provides healthcare organizations with yet another powerful lever to enhance the patient experience, improve health outcomes, and fully 'close the loop' on patient care," the company said in its press release. "This is especially necessary for homebound patients and those who live in food deserts—areas where accessing groceries can be particularly challenging."

Eric Wicklund is the associate content manager and senior editor for Innovation, Technology, and Pharma for HealthLeaders.

Photo credit: Photo courtesy Uber Health


KEY TAKEAWAYS

Uber Health, launched in 2018, currently helps providers and payers arrange non-emergency medical transportation and prescription deliveries for patients.

The company is now adding groceries and over-the-counter items, which can be ordered via the Uber Eats platform and delivered to a patient's home.

The effort targets key issues like food insecurity and lack of access to healthy meals, which boost hospitalizations and healthcare expenses and affect clinical outcomes.


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