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Uber is growing its enterprise-facing business, this time partnering with health care organizations to get patients to their medical appointments.
The new Uber Health service gives health organizations access to a dashboard through which they can order rides on behalf of patients (or caregivers or staff) either on the spot or up to 30 days in advance. Multiple rides can be scheduled and managed at once via the dashboard. There's also an API so that organizations can integrate Uber Health into existing healthcare products.
The service is similar to Uber Central, which lets organizations book and manage rides for their own customers and clients. As with Uber Central, the passenger being picked up via Uber Health doesn't need a smartphone -- they'll receive a notification that their driver has arrived via text message. There will also be an option for passengers to receive a phone call on their mobile phone or landline.
Critically, Uber says it's worked with Clearwater Compliance to ensure Uber Health is compliant with HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) standards.
Uber competitor Lyft offers a similar service, called Concierge, which has enabled health insurance providers and health care providers to book rides for patients.
Illustrating why health care providers would be interested in partnering with Uber or Lyft, the ride-hailing firm noted that 3.6 million Americans miss doctor appointments each year due to a lack of reliable transportation.
More than 100 health care organizations have been using Uber Health as part of its beta program, including Blood Centers of the Pacific, Georgetown Home Care, LifeBridge Health, and MedStar Health. The dashboard and API are now available publicly.