Hennepin County Medical Center links EHR, Lyft to help patients keep appointments

Minneapolis-based Hennepin County Medical Center and its innovations group, Upstream Health Innovations, launched a pilot program in January that uses the hospital's EHR to help Medicaid patients hail Lyft rides to their medical appointments, according to the Center for Care Innovations.

The project, called Hitch Health, taps into Lyft's application programming interface, which is linked to the hospital's EHR. The software accesses the EHR to determine which patients are eligible for the Hitch Health program based on insurance type, treatment and condition.

Eligible patients will receive a text five to seven days before their appointment, inviting them to use the service. Then, the patient simply texts "yes" to receive a Lyft ride to the clinic on the day of their appointment. On the day of the appointment, the patient receives the Lyft driver's information and pick-up details via text messages.

Hitch Health will continue to roll out pilot programs throughout 2017. It is in discussions to launch separate pilots with health plans like Renton, Wash.-based Providence Health & Services and EHR vendors like Epic.

Hitch Health estimates Medicaid spends $5 billion a year on non-emergency transportation to help patients get to clinics. On average, 19 percent of patients are no-shows, which cost health systems $150 billion a year.

More articles on patient flow:

St. Joseph's Hospital to close maternity ward Sept. 10

Providence St. Mary Medical Center expects up to 40% increase in ED visits following Adventist hospital closure

Sanford Health hospital to transfer up to 70 patients to new Fargo facility

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