New 'Uber Health' service allows doctors to book patients a ride

(KGTV) - Uber is expanding its role as a common ride-sharing platform into the healthcare sector in its release of "Uber Health," the company announced Thursday.

Uber Health partners with healthcare organizations and is designed to provide rides for patients, caregivers, and staff. The primary aim is to serve patients, though, as access is available without a smartphone.

"Riders don’t need the Uber app, or even a smartphone, to get a ride with Uber Health because it’s all done through text message. 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," a release from the company said.

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Healthcare providers can schedule rides on clients' behalf, the passenger is contacted by text message with their trip details when the ride is booked and also when their driver arrives, and then the passenger is picked up and dropped off.

If the passenger does not have a mobile phone, Uber said the healthcare company or caregiver can coordinate on their behalf.

Uber said the service will hopefully cut down on the number of patients who miss doctor appointment due to transportation issues.

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"Every year an estimated 3.6 million Americans miss their appointments due to a lack of reliable transportation. At Uber, we recognize that the path to health may not be easy, but we know the road to care can be," the company says.

Organizations that partner with Uber Health will be given access to track billing, appointments, and schedule multiple follow-up appointments simultaneously.

The company added their product will meet HIPAA standards.

Uber plans to use drivers already in their established network to facilitate the service.

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