Views From the Top: Solving the Patient Transportation Dilemma

How Lyft’s partnerships with healthcare organizations like Ascension and Sutter Health are going the extra mile for patients

Having an illness – chronic or otherwise – can mean a lot of healthcare appointments. There’s doctor visits, lab work, pharmacy stops, the list goes on. If you don’t have access to a car or other form of reliable transportation, how do you get the care you need?

One study found that approximately 3.5 million people identified issues with transportation as the reason they weren’t able to receive proper medical care. According to BMC Health Services Research, on average, community hospitals see 62 cancelled appointments a day. That’s an annual cost of $3 million.

That’s where ridesharing networks, like Lyft, come in.

Seeing an opportunity to reduce the amount of people arriving late to or missing their medical appointments, Lyft has partnered with a variety of healthcare providers, including Ascension, the largest non-profit healthcare provider in the U.S., and Sutter Health, a leading non-profit healthcare provider in California, to help patients access dependable, low-cost transportation.

"Our goal is to provide people with a transportation solution that is reliable, safe and affordable, to remove the simple barrier of getting from point A to point B. This is especially critical for underserved communities such as our aging, at risk and low-income populations,” explained Gyre Renwick, Vice President of Lyft Business. “By improving access to care for everyone – including those who need it most – we are working towards our mission of improving people's lives with the world's best transportation."

How the Partnership Works

In a healthcare setting, medical staff, such as a case manager or social worker, can use a specialized platform, called Lyft Concierge, to schedule a ride for a patient. Staff can request a ride on-demand or up to one week in advance of a patient’s appointment – both to arrive to the appointment and to get home afterwards.

According to Lyft, Lyft Concierge is 35 to 55 percent more affordable than a taxi or comparable alternative with full transparency on where the patient is during the trip. It also offers detailed reporting and analytics.

“It is so important for someone who has been treated and released from the emergency department to have access to safe and reliable transportation,” shared Albert Chan, MD, Chief of Digital Patient Experience with Sutter Health. “The overall patient experience really matters and this is one example of how we’re trying to enhance it, thanks to this collaboration.”

Lyft Concierge does not require a patient to have the Lyft app, or even a smartphone at all.

Improved Access Equals Improved Satisfaction

These partnerships not only help get patients where they need to go on time, they also increase patient satisfaction.

Chris Young, Vice President of Innovation with Ascension, said “This partnership supports our commitment to providing compassionate, personalized care to our patients, with special attention to those persons living in poverty and those most vulnerable. We’re looking at it from an overall customer satisfaction and quality point of view.

“We’re able to provide our patients with good, accessible and dependable transportation, thanks to this partnership. We’ve had a great reaction to it and that’s what it’s really all about.”

Discover More at HIMSS18

Learn more about how Ascension and Sutter Health are making a difference in healthcare and for their patients during their Views From the Top session, Non-Emergency Medical Transportation: Better Health Outcomes with Ridesharing, March 8 from 2:30 – 3:30 pm at HIMSS18.

Hear more compelling insights from thought leaders during HIMSS18 Views from the Top educational sessions.