Uber has launched a new service that will allow hospitals, clinics, nursing homes and other health care organizations to order and schedule vehicle rides for patients.
There's one patient contingent that likely would find issue with the average Uber ride: people in wheelchairs. Uber is now offering to take patients in every US market to and from their medical appointments. The company says the tech service complies with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (better known as HIPAA), and healthcare organizations will be billed for the rides.
The service is similar to Uber Central, which lets organizations book and manage rides for their own customers and clients.
"There are a lot of people out there who are not going to the doctor simply because they can't physically make it there", said Uber Health executive Jay Holley.
Uber said that over 100 health care organizations are already using Uber Health as part of a beta program.
"This is something that you don't have to have a smartphone to use it, you don't even have to have a cellphone at all, so that opens up the world of Uber to a much broader group of people". Uber, and its USA competitor Lyft, want to chip away at the problem.
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.
Everyone needs to visit a doctor at some point, but not everyone can drive there. Among users of the service are NYU's Perlmutter Cancer Center, Georgetown Home Care and Yale New Haven Health. "This service will provide reliable, comfortable transportation for patients". If Uber Health doesn't train its drivers properly or include vehicles created to accommodate wheelchairs, walking aids, people with difficulties communicating verbally, and other aspects of disability, the platform will not serve a huge portion of the population who could benefit from it most.
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