Uber unveils Uber Health to get patients to doctor's appointments

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The company says that more than 3.6 million Americans miss doctor appointments annually due to a lack of reliable transportation with no-show rates being as high as 30 percent across the country.

Uber Health will partner with health care providers, who will be able to schedule rides for patients using a special digital platform. "People who use wheelchairs and use UberWAV must contend with missed appointments, being late for events and other stress and inconvenience", the lawsuit said, according to The New York Times.

Rather than operating through an app, Uber Health will send passengers their ride information via text message.

As far as monetization goes, Uber claims there is "no additional service fee" associated with using Uber Health. Both Uber and its primary competitor, Lyft, have previously undertaken partnerships aimed at capturing the patient transportation market and helping to improve access to care.

Uber will bill care providers who sign up for the service monthly based on their usage.

The service is similar to Uber Central, which lets organizations book and manage rides for their own customers and clients.

A sticker with the Uber logo is displayed in the window of a vehicle on June 12, 2014, in San Francisco.

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The company said it was also planning to introduce an option to receive details via a phone call to a mobile or landline.

Uber said that over 100 health care organizations are already using Uber Health as part of a beta program.

"Transportation barriers are the greatest for vulnerable populations", Chris Weber, the general manager of Uber Health, told NPR. Rutrick said taxis were more expensive and required advance planning to get a cab to drive an hour or two to pick someone up. Home care companies have also partnered with Uber for this service.

The service engages with Uber's 750,000 active USA drivers, who can be dispatched through Uber Health's dashboard online, created to be used by health care personnel.

Uber isn't the first major tech company to break into the healthcare space, which the World Economic Forum values at $6.5 trillion worldwide. Transport can be an issue for everyone, but even more so for elderly patients, particularly those with debilitating conditions that limit their mobility.

"Many doctors call cabs for their patients, but Uber is available in about 250 USA cities and is sometimes cheaper than a metered taxi".

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