Uber moves into healthcare with dedicated patient transport service
Technology has the potential to revolutionize healthcare accessibility, but there are gaps that telepresence robots, smartphone diagnostics and self-driving clinics won't be able to fill. Uber is looking to make some headway in the area with a new service aimed at helping patients get to and from a medical professional when they need to.
Announced today, Uber Health aims to put a dent in the amount of doctor's appointments missed in the US each year due to transportation issues, which Uber says amounts to a whopping 3.6 million. Transport can be an issue for everyone, but even more so for elderly patients, particularly those with debilitating conditions that limit their mobility.
Uber Health is essentially a dashboard that can be used by healthcare providers to arrange and manage transport for their patients. This means booking trips for both patients and staff up to 30 days in advance and the ability to schedule several rides at once, something that could come in useful when organizing follow-up appointments.
The handy thing here is that because all the booking is handled by the provider, even patients without smartphones can use the service. In those cases, trip details would be confirmed with the user through a simple text message or phone call to a regular mobile phone or landline.
Uber says 100 healthcare providers around the US, such as hospitals, rehab centers and senior care facilities, have already been using a beta version of Uber Health, and now the tech is ready for a wider rollout. It is publicly available from today in the US, though there is no word yet on a future rollout in other countries.