Ridesharing: A Revolution in Transportation for Healthcare

Posted on November 4, 2016 by Joseph McCullough - Also by this author

Today, car ownership and maintenance represent the second-largest household expense. However, household expenditure on transportation coordinated via ride-sharing applications, such as Lyft and Uber, is expected to supplant car ownership spend by 2025, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Consequently, the process of obtaining a license and a car, once thought of as a generational rite of passage, may soon become a thing of the past. Today, transportation is available anytime, day or night, with just a few swipes and clicks of a cell phone — and at a cost considerably less than owning and maintaining one’s own vehicle.

The auto and transportation industries must adapt in order to keep pace with the rapid paradigm shift occurring in the transportation marketplace. There are few segments of the transportation industry where this realization is more evident than healthcare.

Every year, approximately 3.6 million medical appointments are missed due to transportation issues, despite the billions of dollars spent on healthcare transportation each year. One pioneer in the healthcare transportation segment, One Call Care Management (“One Call”), is harnessing the power of ride-sharing technology in order to eliminate the issues that have historically plagued this area of the market, while also providing a better overall experience for the patient and the payer. The result is fewer missed appointments, better access to care, and less hassle for the patient.

One Call provides solutions to insurance carriers, third-party administrators (TPAs) and employers, and operates primarily within the workers’ compensation arena. Within this traditionally fragmented system, there is tremendous potential in helping injured workers get to and from medical appointments that facilitate their recovery, enable compliance with their treatment programs, and promote a safe, rapid return-to-work.

Earlier this year, One Call announced a partnership with Lyft to provide non-emergency patients with transportation services. One Call’s vision in this effort is to provide a technology-based solution that could not only improve efficiency throughout the continuum of care, but most importantly, provide peace of mind to patients. One Call and Lyft integrated their transportation platforms to create an active ridesharing management tool that allows users and One Call to monitor and confirm transportation in real-time.

During an initial pilot program, One Call increased the fulfillment of rush requests by 64 percent when utilizing Lyft’s extensive driver community. This additional fulfillment ability allowed “rush case” patients with last-minute requests for trips to reach their appointments on time, eliminating costly fees typically associated with these trips thus reducing the overall cost of care. The new system led to fewer missed appointments, a factor which often contributes to medical complications because of delays in receiving necessary care. The transparency now offered via real-time visibility into trip status and improved estimated pick-up times, also contributes to One Call’s ability to prevent the kind of service interruptions that have historically been part and parcel of the healthcare transportation industry.


Additional benefits of ridesharing technology in the healthcare industry include delivery of real-time data, immediate patient feedback, notice of driver delays and the elimination of drivers’ wait time during appointments. Lyft currently operates in more than 200 cities nationwide, offering broad coverage in every major metropolitan area within One Call’s transportation network.

The impact of ridesharing technology on healthcare and other industries will be transformational. The early applications in healthcare are especially exciting in their ability to improve patient care and patient outcomes with greater safety, efficiency, and reliability.

Joseph McCullough is sr. VP, Transport + Translate at One Call Care Management and has over 10 years of experience in healthcare leadership.

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