Uber is launching a new service that will allow doctors and hospitals to call patients rides.
You may be thinking, “ok so Uber came up with the idea of ambulances,” and you’d be kind of right. But the new Uber Health dashboard is apparently very different than ambulances.
The Atlantic reported on the logistics of Uber Health:
“The new Uber Health dashboard, which has been tested by a beta group of about 100 hospitals and doctors’ offices since July, will allow medical and administrative staff to either call an Uber to the office to drive a specific patient home, or to dispatch an Uber to the patient’s house, with the option to schedule it up to 30 days in advance. The patient need not have the Uber app or even a working smartphone: The dashboard comes with a printable sheet allowing a doctor to circle the incoming Uber’s car color and write down the license plate.”
Uber is trying to solve a problem, apparently missed doctors’ appointments cost around $150 billion each year and that 3.6 million Americans miss appointments because of transportation issues.
The Atlantic reported that Uber Health is used for patients without serious health issues and catered more for routine check-ups. If a patient has a serious medical condition, it’s probably better to call an ambulance.
“Many doctors call cabs for their patients, but Uber is available in about 250 U.S. cities and is sometimes cheaper than a metered taxi. Holley says that it would be up to doctors to determine if a patient was well enough to take an Uber, rather than an ambulance, and that if something happened to the patient in transit, the Uber driver should just call 911.”
It’s unclear how successful this will be. Uber Health seems most appropriate for older people with a lot of appointments, but have you ever tried to get your grandparents to use Uber? Yeah, not great.