- On-demand nonemergency medical transport (NEMT) startup Circulation raised $10.5 million in a Series A financing round led by Flare Capital Partners and The Providence Service Corporation, MobiHealthNews reports.
- Other contributors included Intermountain Healthcare Innovation Fund, Boston Children’s Hospital and Humana.
- Boston-based Circulation said it will use the funds to speed expansion and growth across the country.
Making sure patients get to healthcare appointments is a constant concern for providers, and if it's not done well, it can hurt their bottom line. Community hospitals average 62 no-shows a day, at an annual cost of about $3 million, according to BMC Health Services Research. For teaching hospitals, the average no-show and late-arrival rates are 25% and 31%, respectively.
Ride-sharing companies and IT-enabled NEMT offer a consumer-oriented and economical solution to this age-old problem. Uber and Lyft both partner with health systems to get patient to appointments on time.
Speaking at the Connected Health Conference in December, Pete Celano, director of consumer health initiatives at MedStar Institute for Innovation, said use of UberX cost the health system about 60% of what a cab costs in D.C., northern Virginia and Maryland. It also allows patients to book a ride inside an hour, cutting down on unfilled appointments.
A study published last year in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggested the federal government could save money, too, with rideshare programs. The U.S. spends an estimated $2.7 billion a year on NEMT, a figure that will likely grow under Medicaid expansion.
Launched in 2016, Circulation’s digital platform lets patients, caregivers, staff and volunteers arrange a ride for a patient using a computer or mobile device and coordinates the nonemergency transportation. The company says it is HIPAA-compliant and integrates with health systems and Uber’s API, as well as other ride options.
As of April, Circulation had arrangements with 700 health facilities in 25 states. The company claims high patient satisfaction, 40-50% cost savings over conventional transportation options, 95% on-time rate and 8% no-show rate.