- Uber Health is foraying deeper into healthcare with a new feature that allows providers to order prescriptions to be dropped off at patients homes same-day.
- The same-day prescription delivery is meant to help patients adhere to a medication schedule, Uber said Thursday. The service is made possible through an integration of Uber Health’s dashboard with ScriptDrop, a tech platform connecting patients and pharmacies with couriers nationwide.
- The company also said it expects to soon launch delivery of healthy food and over-the-counter medicine for patients, including Medicare Advantage and Medicaid beneficiaries.
Uber first launched Uber Health in 2018 as a dashboard allowing healthcare workers to book a ride on demand or schedule a future ride for a patient. The service, called non-emergency medical transportation or NEMT, aimed to help providers reduce missed appointments and improve patient outcomes while preventing revenue loss.
Uber Health’s client list has grown over the past five years to more than 3,000 healthcare clients, including health systems and insurers.
Uber Health began offering prescription drug delivery in 2020 through a partnership with NimbleRx, an on-demand prescription platform, as demand for home medication delivery surged during the COVID-19 pandemic. The San Francisco-based company expanded its prescription delivery footprint a year later through another integration with ScriptDrop.
The new same-day service, launched Thursday, allows a care coordinator already using Uber Health to also ship prescriptions and track their arrival.
At-home prescription delivery is a crowded market despite consumer demand. Most major pharmacies, including CVS Health and Walgreens, have raced to build out their delivery networks in the past few years, while Amazon since 2018 has built out its online pharmacy with national distribution capabilities.
But there’s ample room for competition: The U.S. prescription drug market accounted for $335 billion in health spending in 2018 and sees some 3.8 billion prescriptions filled each year.
In addition, as many as 30% of people never pick up their prescribed medication from the pharmacy, per INC Research.
Uber competitor Lyft has also been building out its NEMT division after launching in 2016.
Healthcare companies partner with NEMT players to reduce patient no-shows, shifting the reliance on emergency services to upstream preventive primary care, especially for vulnerable low-income populations. The downstream costs of missed medical visits in the U.S. are estimated at roughly $150 billion annually, and 3.6 million people miss appointments due to lack of transportation each year, according to research.
Uber and Lyft directly compete with other medical transportation companies and brokers like Veyo, Roundtrip and Circulation in the NEMT market. Some of those NEMT players have accused large rideshare companies — notably, Uber and Lyft — of not having the healthcare experience or specialization of vehicles and services to address the needs of some populations.