Geisinger Health System is working with York, Pennsylvania-based Rabbittransit in a pilot program to get patients without transportation to their medical and health-related appointments. Rabbittransit offers public transportation for five counties in Pennsylvania.
Dr. Jaewon Ryu, Geisinger’s EVP and chief medical officer, said the system’s largely rural area makes lack of transportation a challenge for patients.
The Danville, Pennsylvania-based nonprofit integrated health system is planning two pilots — an urban project in northeast Pennsylvania and a rural project in central Pennsylvania.
Similar to other healthcare transportation programs, Geisinger is hoping the pilots can reduce patient no-shows and improve patient health. Lack of transportation is a critical social determinant of health and can lead to poor health outcomes if patients, especially those who are chronically ill, miss appointments.
Geisinger’s pilot programs will join other transportation projects that look to lower appointment no-shows. Lyft and Allscripts are partnering on a healthcare platform that will let doctors and hospitals offer non-emergency medical transportation to patients. Uber also recently launched a new platform called Uber Health, which will allow healthcare workers to book a ride for a patient.
Geisinger had more than 323,000 no-shows for primary care appointments in FY 2016 and more than 87,000 no-shows for ancillary services. The National Institutes for Health said one-quarter of no-shows are connected to patients not having transportation, Geisinger said in a program overview given to Healthcare Dive.
Geisinger’s program will go beyond medical appointments and provide transportation for non-clinical, but health-related reasons, such as going to counseling, a pharmacy, a grocery store or food bank or for a job interview.
The program will offer transportation if it’s deemed a way to support care coordination and adheres to a plan of care. Geisinger's program is part of the growing trend of weighing social determinants to help improve population health.
A mobility manager will review referral forms to determine program eligibility. The manager will work with the rider and transit services and reserve rides through phone, form and a digital portal. The program will have three- or six-month follow-ups to access need.
Geisinger will measure the program’s success through gauging outcomes, such as changes in health status, appointment attendance, prescription adherence, fewer hospital readmissions and emergency room visits and quality of life indicators. Geisinger will also gauge ROI.