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Lyft Partnership to Support Ambulatory Patient Access to Care

The partnership is set to assist patient access to care for ambulatory healthcare settings.

patient access to care

Source: Thinkstock

By Sara Heath

- A new partnership between Acuity Link and Lyft will enable better patient access to care in the ambulatory, outpatient setting.

Acuity Link is a non-emergency medical transportation provider with goals to over come transportation as a major social determinant of health. The company currently offers a platform to connect patients with critical care ambulance transport and other outpatient care transport.

This new partnership with Lyft will ease the transportation burden for ambulatory outpatients with no medical transportation needs. The Lyft platform will plug into the Acuity Link dashboard, allowing patients and providers to arrange rides to and from the medical facility for patients who otherwise would go without transportation.

The tool is intended for patients who do not have medical needs during their transportation. Patients with special medical equipment or who will need medical monitoring in transit are not a good fit for the Lyft extension, according to the companies.

The partnership intends to overhaul outdated forms of transportation for ambulatory patients, according to Acuity Link CEO Alex Theoharidis.

READ MORE: Lyft Partnership to Expand Transportation for Healthcare Access

“Prior to Acuity Link, many ambulatory patient transports were performed through a taxi voucher system, which historically has been poorly serviced, inefficient, non-transparent and costly to all stakeholders,” Theoharidis said in a statement. “By adding Lyft ride share services to Acuity Link’s platform, we have become a true one-stop shop for non-emergency medical transportation, providing managed logistics for all modes of transportation into any health care setting.”

Rideshare companies such as Uber or Lyft have proven more cost-effective than other medical transportation media. The services have also increased the number of patients who seek care who otherwise may have gone without.

The platform should be easy to use, according to Lyft vice president of business, Gyre Renwick.

“Through our partnership with Acuity Link, we’re able to create a seamless option for medical providers to request affordable rides more quickly and efficiently for their facilities,” Renwick explained. “Together, Lyft and Acuity Link are providing an innovative solution to manage all levels of care. Because of this joint effort, we’re able to reach even more passengers to ensure they’re able to get to and from important medical appointments as we work to cut the health care transportation gap in half by 2020 and improve people’s lives with the world’s best transportation.”

This news comes on the heels of other big announcements from Lyft. At the HIMSS conference held this year in Las Vegas, the company announced efforts to close gaps in care caused by transportation barriers.

READ MORE: BCBS, Lyft Forge Deal for Patient Care Access, Transportation

In partnership with EHR vendor Allscripts, Lyft will be available to providers within the EHR, the company said in its announcement. Providers can make a note about patients who might need assistance getting to their medical appointments, and within the same tool request a ride for patients.

Lyft chief business officer David Baga stated that the company was inspired by the number of healthcare organizations using Lyft on their own accord to create access to care for their patients.

“It was a moment that underlined just how big a barrier transportation has become for people who need healthcare in this country,” Baga wrote. “That’s why, at Lyft, we’ve spent years working to help solve this problem. We’ve partnered with some of the biggest players throughout the healthcare ecosystem — from care providers and healthcare systems to insurers, transportation brokers, and technology companies.”

Transportation is a notable social determinant of health. When a patient has a physical limitation that keeps them from driving, does not own a car, or experiences barriers from other public transport options, they often go without care.

“For some, missing a visit to the doctor means a small, nagging health problem can turn into an urgent need for care,” Baga explained. “And when people miss medical appointments, not only is it detrimental to their health and wellbeing, but it winds up costing them — and the entire healthcare system.”

READ MORE: What Providers Should Know to Improve Patient Access to Healthcare

Other rideshare companies have set goals to address transportation as a social determinant of health. Also during HIMSS, Uber announced its new healthcare offshoot that will allow both patients and providers to arrange rides to appointments.

These partnerships are just some examples of extending health interventions beyond the four walls of the hospital. Several social factors impact a patient’s ability to be healthy, but community outreach efforts may help close those gaps.

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