Seniors with chronic diseases embrace ride-hailing to access care

Better access to ride-hailing services will prompt most senior patients with chronic diseases to use them to attend medical appointments, according to a study published in the Journal of mHealth.

Researchers from the USC Center for Body Computing at the Keck School of Medicine in Los Angeles screened 150 patients over the age of 60 with chronic diseases. For these patients, access to transportation was a factor in missed appointments, and more than 45 percent relied on others for transportation.

For the study, the patients were offered free rides to both medical and nonmedical destinations for three months. They also were given personalized training in using a ride-hailing app. Each patient also was given a daily activity tracker.

Nearly all (93 percent), of the patients used the Lyft rides to access medical care.

Researchers also found that 31 percent of all rides were used for medical appointments, and the remaining rides were used to get to fitness, social and leisure activities. Ninety-two percent of study participants reported that this improved their perceived quality of life.

"This research underscores how ride-sharing platforms can provide a significant benefit to the well-being of older adults, empowering them to become active participants in their own care as well as in other areas of their lives," said Leslie Saxon, MD, executive director of the USC Center for Body Computing and principal investigator of the study.

More articles on patient engagement:
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St. Peter's Healthcare CXO on aiming higher as bar gets raised on patient satisfaction

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