People who live in big cities or, for one reason or another, don’t drive still have to go to the doctor now and then. They could call a taxi but in some urban areas it can be a challenge to get one when you need it. And in rural areas, there might not be taxi service at all. That’s why some hospital systems and assisted-living facilities are partnering with Lyft and Uber, going as far as providing vouchers to encourage their use. Lyft actively promotes this concept on their website. It’s all part of an effort to ensure patients get the care they need without concern for transportation—and to encourage them to choose their facility. The question is, if this works for other settings why couldn’t it work for urgent care? This option could be even more attractive to patients in need during the current pandemic, when city dwellers are hesitant to get on the bus or ride the subway with a bunch of strangers who may or may not observe COVID-19 safety guidelines. It also makes sense from a healthcare spending perspective. Some areas allow ambulances to deliver patients to urgent care rather than the hospital, but the savings realized by choosing a less-expensive setting can be partially eaten up by the more-expensive ambulance service. Consider whether the area surrounding your urgent care operations could be better served if you helped patients arrive at your doorstep.
If Patients Are Using Ride-Sharing Apps to Visit the ED, Shouldn’t They Be Heading Your Way?