April 15, 2021 at 10:14PM

Lyft is introducing a program to help ease medical transportation for people without rides, something that previously has been largely a time-consuming, stressful and expensive proposition for patients and providers alike. The traditional process to secure rides to medical providers has been shown to prevent underserved and poorer populations from getting the care they need. 

“We’re inserting a world-class technology many are already familiar with into patients’ care journey,” said Megan Callahan, vice president, Lyft Healthcare. “By leveraging our superpower in consumer tech, we’ve automated an important piece of health access that allows patients to be self-sufficient and in control, while allowing our partners to focus on the services they provide, rather than on administrative processes.”

The often arduous process typically entails patients having to call for a ride three days in advance of an appointment. And even when calling, people have to wait online in a queue for a ride to be ordered on their behalf, which can further muddle communication and timeliness. 

The Silicon Valley rideshare startup said in a blog post on Thursday (April 15) that Lyft Pass for Healthcare helps to solve “one of the most frequent challenges we hear from our partners: how to put the power of Lyft into the patient’s hand.” 

Lyft said this initiative is the first time patients and professionals in the healthcare ecosystem can use a digital, app-based process to facilitate transportation for underserved customers, who are often lower-income and lack cars or public transport. The new tool is intended to provide everyone involved with increased flexibility and control over the basic need of getting to and from medical appointments.

The service assists Medicaid and Medicare beneficiaries by providing an easy way to get to the care they need without the often cumbersome process of booking a ride. The sponsoring medical organization covers the cost but gets the benefit of automated controls for budget, location, compliance and more, the post said. 

“Centene is committed to serving our communities and helping members get access to the COVID-19 vaccine. We know that transportation is a critical barrier, and members want an option as easy and consumer-friendly as possible,” said Dr. Ken Yamaguchi, Chief Medical Officer for Centene. “Many of our members already use the Lyft app in their daily lives, and we’re applying that technology to ensure they also have access to COVID vaccinations.”

Last year, Lyft teamed up with healthcare records provider Epic, which gave medical providers the ability to book Lyft rides for patients based on what’s in their charts. As PYMNTS reported in October 2020, patient non-compliance has been a big issue in terms of no-shows.

Lyft Launches Healthcare Tool For Patients’ Medical Transport …

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