Uber launches 'Uber Health' to transport patients to physicians' offices

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Ride-hailing service app Uber on March 1 announced its intent to team up with various healthcare organizations nationwide to provide transportation for patients traveling to and from medical appointments, according to NPR.

The service, Uber Health, aims to help patients make it to their medical appointments on time. For patients without smartphones, receptionists or other staffers at participating physicians' offices can schedule their rides for immediate pickup or dropoff up to 30 days in advance.

"Transportation barriers are the greatest for vulnerable populations," said Chris Weber, general manager of Uber Health, adding the service "will provide reliable, comfortable transportation for patients," but will not act as a supplement to ambulances for patients in critical need of care.

Rather than operating through an app, Uber Health will send passengers their ride information via text message. Drivers, however, will still locate and pick up riders through the Uber app, allowing them to abide by the patient privacy laws outlined in HIPAA.

Roughly 100 healthcare facilities nationwide participated in Uber Health's test program. The company said it plans to roll out the feature to participating facilities gradually. Officials also said they hope to introduce an option for passengers to receive a call with their trip details to their landline, according to the report.

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