Patients can call the confidential ride-hailing service using a landline, and providers can schedule multiple rides over a 30-day period to assure access to care.
Uber on Thursday unveiled Uber Health, a HIPAA-compliant ride-hailing service that will drive patients to healthcare appointments and reduce no-shows at the doctor’s office.
Uber Health claims the new service will help to alleviate the estimated 3.6 million missed doctor’s appointments each year in the United States, especially for chronically ill, elderly and frail patients with limited transportation and communication options.
The Uber Health dashboard lets providers order rides for patients to and from care venues, immediately or within 30 days of an appointment, which Uber said will allow for follow-ups, multiple appointments, and multiple rides on a single dashboard.
The patients who use Uber Health will not need the app or a smartphone because the service is done through text messaging.
Providers pay for the service in a single monthly bill, but can access patient accounts to monitor expenses and other metrics, such as usage frequency and trip durations, Uber Health said.
"We're even going to be introducing the option for riders to receive a call with trip details to their mobile phone or landline instead," Uber Health said in a media release. "For many, their first ever Uber ride will be through Uber Health, so we’re committed to providing the necessary education tools that ensure every patient feels comfortable and at ease during their journey."
Uber Health says it is HIPAA compliant, with multiple safeguards built in to protect patient confidentiality. For example, Uber drivers will be told only a patient’s name, the pick-up and drop-off addresses, and will not know if the passenger is using Uber Health.
While Uber Health is now available to all providers, more than 100 healthcare organizations, including hospitals, clinics, rehab centers, and senior care facilities, have already used Uber Health in a beta program, the company said.
John Commins is a senior editor at HealthLeaders.