For many Americans, high-quality health care is difficult to come by, and cost isn’t the only reason why. Another common challenge is the logistical difficulty of getting to appointments on time. Lyft, one of the leading names in the ride-hailing business, is looking to change that. By partnering with the electronic health records company Allscripts, the company plans to make it easier for doctors nationwide to call rides for their patients, according to a report from USA Today.
This move might be a significant one in Lyft’s ongoing competition with Uber to dominate the ride market. Lyft has been working closely with the health care industry for two years now to build an application that will get people to their medical appointments; during that time, they’ve built out a network that reaches 2,500 hospitals, 45,000 physician practices, 180,000 physicians and 7 million patients.
“The idea is here simply to give health care providers the ability to call a ride for a patient by pushing a button inside systems they already use,” Lyft chief business officer David Baga told USA Today.
Baga explained that Lyft is working not just with the doctors, but also with health regulators, transportation brokers and tech partners.
“It isn’t just about a health care provider deciding you need a Lyft,” he said. “There are insurers and others involved determining your care eligibility.”
Lyft is making an effort to collaborate with strategic partners and put together the best product possible. The organizations aiding in this effort include LogistiCare, a company that coordinates transportation to medical appointments, and Hitch Health, which organizes rides using people’s electronic health records. Baga says that the company’s partnerships have been instrumental in helping Lyft improve efficiency.
If the company is successful, it will benefit patients and health care providers alike. Research from SCI Solutions revealed that no-show rates to medical appointments in the United States are running at close to 30 percent, and that missed appointments cost American health providers, collectively, $150 billion annually. Getting people better transportation to and from their appointments can help eliminate such issues.
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