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MedStar moves care forward with reliable appointment transportation

October 3, 2019 / US

How Medstar teamed up with Uber to provide patients a reliable, comfortable way to get to their appointments

MedStar Health has faced consequential no-show and cancellation rates for patient appointments, the majority occurring within one hour of their appointment time—what MedStar Health calls the “Hour Window.” When MedStar Health explored the root cause, they discovered that patient access to transportation is a major impediment for getting to an appointment. 

The MedStar Health team realized that if they could give qualifying patients access to reliable transportation, they would increase their operating efficiency and enhance patient outcomes by ensuring face-to-face appointments between patients and doctors or nurses. 

Using Uber Health to expedite access to care  

After running into scheduling delays using other transportation solutions, Medstar Health turned to Uber Health. Uber Health uses Uber’s existing network of driver-partners, who are ubiquitous around MedStar Health hospitals, with ETAs typically well under 10 minutes. 

Using Uber Health’s dashboard, MedStar Health can schedule rides for patients in minutes, so patients and caregivers get to appointments within the “the essential Hour Window.”

The result: A decrease in missed appointments and an increase in their bottom line  

  • Fewer Missed Appointments—MedStar Health has increased schedule fill rates in certain practices by as much as 5-10 percentage points, creating a significant increase in revenue.* 
  • Faster ETAs—MedStar Health found that typically, there’s an Uber driver-partner less than five minutes away, so clinic staff can prevent a no-show should patients need a last-minute ride. 
  • Reliable Service—Patient ride status is trackable in real-time and staff can contact the driver by phone.
  • Cost-Efficient—MedStar Health estimates that after beginning to use Uber Health, its non-emergency transport budget has been able to go about 40% further.** 
  • Manageable Workflow—Case managers are able to book patient rides hours ahead of time, streamlining the process. 
  • Accessible Analytics—Because Uber Health is entirely digital, information on riders initiated and completed is available to MedStar to analyze and represents a high fidelity audit trail. 

*Based on data from three hospitals using Uber Health in the October-December, 2018 timeframe.

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