How Uber's move with Relatient could boost access to care

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Online transportation company Uber wants to get patients to their medical appointments on time, and a new partnership is expected to provides opportunities for them to handle mundane administrative tasks.

Uber is teaming up with Tennessee-based healthcare communication company Relatient to increase access to care. The two companies say that surveys suggest that a lack of transportation prevents about 3.6 million Americans from making appointments with physicians each year.

Uber users will receive messages—such as appointment reminders and follow-up care coordination communication—through Relatient and then can schedule their rides. Through integration of the companies’ IT systems, appointment information—the date and time of the appointment and the address—will already be filled out.

During the ride to the appointment, a patient will receive a message to check in with the provider so that the necessary paperwork is completed upon arrival. Patients also will receive a satisfaction survey covering the medical appointment on the ride home.

“Patients who miss medical appointments or have to reschedule at the last minute frequently cite transportation as a factor,” says Rob Daniels product partnerships lead for Uber. “We’re very excited about the collaboration with Relatient because it gives people a simple way to plan their appointments and ensure they always have access to a reliable ride when they need one.”

Missed medical appointments lead to increased medical risks for patients, says Sam Johnson, CEO of Relatient.”There’s no doubt that solving the transportation problem will save lives. It will also mean more financially sound health organizations. For example, it’s not unusual for a doctor to average four missed appointments per day, amounting to roughly $150,000 in lost revenue per doctor every year. For large medical practices, this quickly adds up to millions of dollars.” 

For the work week of August 22, anyone in the country who requests an ride from Uber through Relatient will receive a discount as part of the “Ride to Health” initiative.

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