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Today Uber unveiled a new component to its app that will help people get to and from doctors’ appointments. Uber Health is the newest addition to the ride-sharing app — Uber hopes that the new feature will help those with transportation barriers overcome issues involving getting proper medical attention. The new feature does not require patients who participate to have the app, or even a smartphone.
Uber is teaming up with healthcare organizations around the country to provide accessible transportation for patients who have trouble getting to doctors’ appointments. Participants only need to have access to a phone (including non-smartphones), which opens up Uber to customers who wouldn’t have been able to participate previously. Rides can be scheduled for patients directly through doctors’ offices — they can be booked for immediate pickup or up to 30 days in advance.
Passengers who ride with Uber Health will receive an SMS text message when their ride arrives. The company has plans to introduce an option for participants to receive a call via a landline, too. Uber drivers will continue to use the Uber app to pickup Uber Health passengers. Drivers will not be able to see any medical information, and the new feature is compliant with federal HIPAA laws — like a typical Uber ride, only passengers names, pickup and drop-off locations will be provided to the driver.
Access to transportation is a problem for millions of people around the country. About 3.6 million Americans delay treatment or miss medical appointments every year due to lack of transportation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Uber Health has been used by 100 health care organizations prior to its release. The service will gradually roll out to healthcare providers around the country.
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