New Service Makes It Easier to Get to Medical Appointments

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An older woman gets in the passenger seat of a minivan
Ozgur Coskun /

Uber has rolled out Uber Health, a new service focused on shuttling folks to their health care providers.

You’re probably familiar with Uber as a ride-sharing service. It’s a “taxi alternative” that allows drivers to use their own cars and give rides to others. Driving for Uber is a way to earn extra cash on your own schedule.

Uber Health specifically serves health care providers and their patients, though. Uber says it’s already being used by more than 100 health care organizations, including:

  • Hospitals
  • Clinics
  • Rehab centers
  • Senior care facilities
  • Home care centers
  • Physical therapy centers

The service allows these providers to book rides online on behalf of patients. So, while using Uber as a driver or rider requires use of the Uber app — and thus a smartphone or other mobile device — Uber Health does not.

Uber Health explains:

“Riders don’t need to be tech-savvy — they don’t need to be existing Uber users or even have a phone.”

If you have a cellphone capable of receiving text messages and a ride is booked for you in advance, you’ll get a text message with the ride details at that time. You’ll also get a text message notifying you when the driver is on the way to pick you up.

If you don’t have a cell, a driver may call your landline phone number upon arriving to pick you up. Or a caregiver or the health care provider you’re seeing can also coordinate the ride on your behalf.

The health care provider’s office will know when you’re on your way to the appointment, too. Through their Uber Health account, they can see in real time when passengers are picked up and when they’re due to arrive.

You won’t need to have cash on you. Uber says all payments are handled electronically. Health care organizations that use Uber Health are billed directly for their patients’ rides monthly.

Uber promotes Uber Health to health care organizations as a way to reduce the number of no-show appointments and increase the number of folks who make it to their appointments on time.

Uber does not specify whether any costs can be passed on to passengers, though. So, if a Uber Health ride is booked for you, ask the health care organization about any costs at that time.

Would you use this new service? Share your thoughts below or on Facebook.

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