21 March 2018

The Atlantic: “Uber Health lets Doctors call Cars for their Patients”

The new Uber Health dashboard, which has been tested by a beta group of about 100 hospitals and doctors’ offices since July, will allow medical and administrative staff to either call an Uber to the office to drive a specific patient home, or to dispatch an Uber to the patient’s house, with the option to schedule it up to 30 days in advance. The patient need not have the Uber app or even a working smartphone: The dashboard comes with a printable sheet allowing a doctor to circle the incoming Uber’s car color and write down the license plate.

With the dashboard, the drivers would see the patient’s name and phone number. The patient would get a text when their car arrived; if they have the regular Uber app, it would not be billed.

Olga Khazan

I have generally been critical of Uber and their business practices, but this is one of their better initiatives. As some critics pointed out, the patient won’t get specialized care during the ride. On the other hand, the physician is responsible for scheduling the ride, so you would think he or she would recommend an ambulance when the situation calls for it. As a side-note, even if this service is currently US-only, I’ve been using Uber as an ambulance service for a couple of months, driving my mother to the hospital for exams and chemotherapy, so there’s definitely potential for something similar in the rest of the world.

Not long after, Lyft announced a similar service for ambulatory customers.

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