Uber — the next home healthcare provider?

As part of a new experiment involving hundreds of Uber drivers, people in 36 cities had the opportunity during a four-hour window to summon a nurse to deliver a flu shot, according to The Boston Globe.

Uber's "on-demand healthcare" represents what many consider to be the future of healthcare — delivering healthcare services to patients when they need it instead of waiting for them to go get it.

UberHEALTH was conceived by John S. Brownstein, PhD, chief innovation officer of Boston Children's Hospital and an associate professor at HarvardMedicalSchool in Boston.

"The concept of bringing on-demand services . . . bringing physicians and nurses to people has so many opportunities," Dr. Brownstein told The Boston Globe.

In addition to Uber, other startup companies facilitate home medical care visits, such as PediaQ, which provides an app parents can use to call a pediatric nurse practitioner to their homes on the weekends and evenings, according to the report. PediaQ is currently available in four Texas communities.

Dr. Brownstein contacted Uber last year with his idea to have drivers transport nurses stocked with flu vaccines, saying the element of convenience might help get more young people to get vaccinated. Only 30 percent of 18 to 49-year-olds get vaccinated, according to the report. Dr. Brownstein said Uber was receptive to his offer to work together on the initiative, and last year they piloted the program in Boston, Chicago, New York and Washington, D.C., where more than 2,000 people were vaccinated.

UberHEALTH also proved to be attractive to consumers, as the demand exceeded the supply of vaccinations, according to the report. The one-day flu shot program expanded to 36 cities this year and operated from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday. "UberHEALTH" was listed as an option at the bottom of the Uber app with a pop-up ad that said, "Get one $10 wellness pack and a registered nurse will offer free flu shots for up to 10 people." The wellness pack included several trinkets, such as a water bottle and hand sanitizer.

Uber declined to say whether it would offer the service again in the future.

More articles on physician issues:
Rush University Medical Center reveals plans for expansion
Study finds diabetes, obesity prevalence follows endocrinologist shortage: 5 key findings
Medical students to HHS, ACGME: Stop research on 30-hour shifts for 1st year physicians

© Copyright ASC COMMUNICATIONS 2019. Interested in LINKING to or REPRINTING this content? View our policies by clicking here.

 

Top 40 Articles from the Past 6 Months