Uber launches service nationally to help patients get to the doctor

Uber launches service nationally to help patients get to the doctor

The announcement comes after years of Uber's lack of accommodations for people with physical disabilities, according to advocacy organizations, and it's unclear that the company will address it with this new service. A lot of that money is for people who can't drive - either because of age or poverty - and so Medicare and Medicaid providers foot the bill.

The new service, called Uber Health, will allow health care providers to book a ride for you.

In this June 11, 2014 file photo, a demonstrator carries a mock coffin with a message reading "They want to kill us - Uber" during a 24 hour taxi strike and protest in Madrid, Spain against unregulated competition from private companies, in particular, Uber. Multiple rides for follow-up appointments can also be scheduled in advance. Many hospitals and health care providers will pay for the rides to and from their facilities, out of their own budgets, since that's way cheaper than the cost incurred from missed appointments.

Uber says 100 healthcare providers around the United States, such as hospitals, rehab centers and senior care facilities, have already been using a beta version of Uber Health, and now the tech is ready for a wider rollout. Uber has signed Business Associate Agreements with its healthcare partners, and says that it will be complying with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. One lesson learned from the experience is that numerous patients who use the service haven't used Uber before and may not even have a smartphone.

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"Whether it's one ride or one hundred, the dashboard makes it easy to book, reschedule, and get a clear overview of which ride is happening when", the website reads. That's because, as it turns out, Uber is the Uber of healthcare. Uber says the program could help tackle the issue of 3.6 million Americans missing their appointments annually due to inadequate transportation.

That said, it sounds more like a convenient way for doctors to get people to return for followup examinations. In 2014, it offered on-demand flu shots in the US.

The Uber Health dashboard will be HIPAA-compliant, according to an Uber announcement. "That's good business for our customers". "We certainly have some ideas of places we can take this in the future and other things that we might be interested in doing, but as of right now, it's just a matter of getting this first thing right".