In a recent article, (https://www.statnews.com/2017/04/05/uber-lyft-emergency-room-ride/) a growing number of patients have started to use Uber and Lyft to get to emergency rooms. Patients cited the cost savings and ability to choose where to receive care as reasons to use these apps as alternatives to an ambulance. One potential risk with patients choosing where to receive care is that the preferred hospital may not be equipped to treat the emergency condition. As a result, an ambulance is necessary to safely transport the patient to a more appropriate facility and the app is not the more cost-effective alternative. Despite this limitation, there may be value in using ride share applications including extending the use to care for non-emergent patients.
Costs associated with missed healthcare appointments can be high for healthcare centers and hospitals. During the CHF peer-to-peer workgroups, one root cause for readmissions is lack of transportation. As discussed in the toolkit, lack of transportation directly affects physician and clinic follow-up visits that could lead to an avoidable emergency room visit or readmission. One participating hospital developed an initiative involving senior centers within the community to mitigate transportation issues for follow-up appointments. If a partnering with community center is not an option in your area, utilizing ride share apps may be a less expensive alternative to help patients get to their physician appointments. In a second article, http://www.wbur.org/bostonomix/2016/09/27/online-tool-hospital-transportation-uber hospitals have begun partnering with at least one of the apps and have found considerable benefits for their patients.
Have you thought about using a ride share app? What does your hospital do to help reduce the number of missed appointments?
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