Carelinx, an online platform that connects patients, family members, and caregivers to help coordinate care, will make ride-sharing services available in its mobile app through a partnership with Lyft, according to a statement made today.
The feature will allow Carelinx users to schedule rides to get to doctor appointments, run errands, and visit friends and family members while being assisted by a professional caregiver.
- Transportation-related issues cause numerous patients to forego or delay medical care and ride-sharing services offered by companies like Lyft and Uber are increasingly relied upon as a solution.
Ride-sharing services are helping to solve the costly problem in healthcare of patient no-shows. About 3.6 million patients miss medical appointments due to issues with transportation each year, according to a Community Transportation Association of American white paper. Further, a study published by BMC Health Services Research estimated that no-shows cost the average community hospital $3 million annually.
Providers have used ride-sharing services to help reduce the number of missed appointments in their practices. MedStar Health, one of the largest health systems in the Washington, D.C. area, launched a pilot program with Uber in January that helped 200 patients make their appointments.
Ride-sharing services seem to be a cheaper alternative to taxi-based transportation programs. Between Medicare and Medicaid, the federal government spent $2.7 billion in 2013 on nonemergency medical transportation, according to a February report from the Government Accountability Office. Lyft's pilot program for Medicare Advantage patients with National MedTrans, a medical transportation benefit manager, reduced average per-ride costs by about one-third.
Technology-based services are typically marketed to younger generations. But AARP officials told Marketplace in September that the country's over-50 population represented the third largest economy in the world. This market presents numerous opportunities for technology companies, particularly when it comes to healthcare.