Uber launches service to help people get to the doctor's office

And, as patient confidentiality and security is also a factor, Uber has forged a partnership with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act risk-management company Clearwater Compliance, now the country's leading company in the field, to keep everything safe and sound, and completely compliant with current regulations. While both ride-sharing companies voiced their commitment to lowering the rates of missed appointments through their services, a recent study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that the uptake of ridesharing was low and did not decrease missed primary care appointments among Medicaid patients in West Philadelphia. For many, their first ever Uber ride will be through Uber Health.

Uber Health offers providers a way to book rides for patients, caregivers, or other medical staff through a dashboard. For those without a smartphone, healthcare organizations can provide a 1-pager where they write down all the details of the ride and hand it to the patient in advance.

Ensuring patients with transportation issues can get to doctors' appointments on time is one way to reduce problems related to social determinants of health.

The announcement comes on the heels of rival Uber's launch of Uber Health last Thursday. And as urban populations continue to grow, it is likely that more healthcare services and organizations will become part of the "smart city" conversation to excel urban health.

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Uber Health can be accessed either as an online dashboard or as an application programming interface (API) that software developers can integrate into their own healthcare systems. That's a special digital platform Lyft launched in 2016.

To get a ride with Uber Health, the patient is not required to either have the app installed or even to have a smartphone to begin with, since the rides are arranged through text messages. "We have been working hard to develop, implement, and customize numerous safeguards", says Uber Health's general manager. Uber is also introducing the option for riders to receive a call with trip details to their mobile phone or landline instead. It's somewhat of literally the last mile, or the last lock of health care, getting the patient involved and making it easier for patients to get to appointments.

Additionally, the passenger isn't billed for the ride because the providers will cover the cost.

'My health crisis was a lot to manage, ' a patient from San Diego said, according to Uber.