Uber Health leader on why providers can say goodbye to swivel chairs

There seems to always be a discussion on what constitutes as a social determinant of health, such as nutrition or housing. However, transportation needs to be equally considered, according to Uber Health chief Dan Trigub.

"At the end of the day, we understand that transportation is absolutely a social determinant of health," he told Becker's Hospital Review. "For our healthcare partners, they are always looking at ways to better serve their patient populations."

To test its healthcare services, which are now being adopted by more than 1,000 healthcare organizations, Uber Health teamed up with Boston Medical Center, which records more than 1.1 million patient visits a year. At the BMC campus, clinicians use Uber Health services to transport patients between facilities, coordinate patient discharges and to work with cancer patients who visit the hospital frequently.

As a result of integrating Uber Health's services, BMC was able to save more than $500,000 in 2018. Additionally, the hospital was able to streamline its billing and financial workflows. It didn't matter if patients didn't have smartphones, Uber Health wanted to extend its reach.

"We really wanted to create solutions that a caregiver, health plan or health system could leverage on behalf of the patient they care for," said Mr. Trigub. "We wanted to create an experience where a patient doesn't need a smartphone or to even know anything about Uber to get the care they need."

Through its other partnerships with MedStar, Cleveland Clinic and Cerner, Uber Health has also discovered the treasure trove of no-show appointments hospitals and health systems have on file.

"What they have recognized is that they have a tremendous number of no-shows and missed appointments along with a lack of transparency when it comes to any transportation solution that they might offer to patients," Mr. Trigub said. "For us, it's then asking how do we leverage this vast platform that we have at Uber to enable healthcare partners to better serve patient populations."

By partnering with Cerner, Uber Health hopes to significantly reduce the number of no-shows while also improve provider workflows. Mr. Trigub says the decision to partner with Cerner was to enable deeper interoperability within the healthcare and ridesharing industries while also preventing caregivers from going dizzy at their desks.

"With Cerner, we are really removing the need for that swivel chair as I like to describe," Mr. Trigub said. "This is when a care manager would be using our tool and then have to swivel their chair to go into the EHR. It's not that great of an experience because it creates an extra step or pain point for the care professional. Now with our implementation with Cerner it can all be done within the same workflow, which we expect will increase adoption and utilization."

Today, with its HIPAA-secure platform, Uber Health has come a long way from its simple reputation of "taking a millennial to a bar on a Friday night," said Mr. Trigub.

"For us, there is so much more that we can do for our most vulnerable populations, such as elderly, low-income and at-risk patients," he continued. "The data does show that transportation is a critical component to getting people the care they need. For us at Uber, the motivation was how can we leverage our existing platform to really serve these vulnerable populations."

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