Uber Health Expands Services to Include Grocery and OTC Item Delivery for Patients

Sijin Thomas Ninan

8/23/20232 دقيقة قراءة

Uber Health, the healthcare arm of ride-sharing giant Uber, is set to broaden its services by offering grocery and over-the-counter (OTC) item delivery to patients of its payer and provider clients. This expansion marks another step in the evolution of Uber Health, which initially focused on non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) and prescription delivery. The platform now aims to facilitate care coordination across multiple benefits, enabling healthcare providers to access patient benefit data and eligibility files from health insurers, ensuring they prescribe services that are covered.

Enhancing Value-Based Care and Population Health: Uber Health's move into grocery and OTC item delivery is part of its commitment to helping clients enhance value-based care and population health programs while minimizing the burden on patients. By transforming into a comprehensive web-based tool, Uber Health empowers doctors' offices, health plan workers, case managers, social workers, and other providers to request essential items for patients based on their health needs. This expansion addresses the broader concept of care beyond medical transportation, acknowledging the critical link between transportation, medication adherence, and benefits coordination.

Differentiating Factors and Integration: Uber Health distinguishes itself from other healthy food delivery and NEMT vendors by offering comprehensive support for medication adherence and benefits coordination. By becoming a one-stop shop, the platform streamlines services that are currently fragmented and siloed. This integration of various healthcare functions aligns with the growing trend of food-as-medicine initiatives, aiming to provide medically tailored meals with convenient access. Uber Health's approach extends beyond addressing transportation challenges and incorporates the broader aspects of patient care.

Positive Impact on Healthcare: Healthcare companies frequently partner with NEMT providers to reduce patient no-shows, thereby shifting reliance from emergency services to preventive primary care, particularly for low-income populations. Missed medical visits cost the U.S. an estimated $150 billion annually, with transportation barriers contributing significantly. Uber Health's services directly address this issue, enabling patients to access healthcare facilities conveniently and affordably. The platform's growth and impact are evident, with bookings increasing by 75% year over year in the first quarter.

Competition and Industry Challenges: Uber's primary competitor, Lyft, has also been expanding its NEMT division since its launch in 2016. While Uber and Lyft face accusations from some NEMT players regarding their lack of healthcare experience and specialization of vehicles and services for specific populations, their market dominance and innovative approach have helped them gain traction in the healthcare transportation sector.

Uber Health's Business Model: Uber Health operates on various payment models, including per-ride or per-visit fees, fee schedules, and per-member per-month charges for higher-volume clients. In general, patients do not have to pay out of pocket for Uber Health services, as they are covered by healthcare customers that have partnered with the platform.

Uber Health's expansion into grocery and OTC item delivery is a testament to the company's commitment to revolutionizing healthcare transportation and coordination. By integrating multiple benefits and streamlining services for patients, Uber Health aims to improve value-based care and population health programs. With its wide reach, innovative approach, and growing customer base, Uber Health continues to address the transportation challenges faced by patients and contribute to the transformation of healthcare delivery.