Are you tired of patient no-shows, last-minute cancelations, and delayed or missed appointments? Around 3.6 million patients miss or delay their care due to transportation barriers, according to a recent study titled “Missed or Delayed Medical Care Appointments by Older Users of Nonemergency Medical Transportation.” All these delays and missed appointments can dramatically increase the prices of care and worsen patient outcomes.
A new tech startup known as Ride Health is trying to do away with these transportation barriers, so more patients can access the healthcare services they need without worrying about whether they have a ride to and from appointments.
It’s one of the hottest and fastest-growing healthcare startups in the industry today. Find out how this new company plans on making sure everyone can find a ride to and from the hospital.
The Promise of Ride Health
Ride Health founder and CEO Imran Cronk knows how difficult securing a ride can be for some patients, especially if they’re older, suffering from a chronic condition, or dependent on family and friends. Eight years ago, Cronk was volunteering at a hospital when he noticed some of the patients were waiting around the facility long after they had been discharged. Some of them had been released from the facility around 9am but without a ride, they would end up staying at the hospital until 6pm, until someone could pick them up after work. Cronk even ended up driving a patient home one night on his way home from work because he would’ve been stranded at the facility otherwise. Cronk knew there had to be a better way.
That’s why he founded Ride Health. Instead of managing thousands of independent drivers like Uber or Lyft, the company’s software works on top of existing medical transportation systems, including ambulances and non-medical transportation options like Uber.
When someone needs a ride, the program will collect information about the patient, including their current location, whether they use a wheelchair and if they have any symptoms. The system will then connect the patient with a local driver based on their specific needs. Patients, their loved ones, and healthcare providers will then get updates in real-time about the trip, so they can plan accordingly. Ride Health can be used in emergency situations and for everyday appointments and check-ups.
Care providers can also use the program to collect data on the transportation preferences of their patients, including how often they need a ride, what kind of ride, and how far they live from facilities, so they can better meet their needs. If there are any unexpected delays or mishaps along the way, they will be logged in the system.
Currently, health systems, not patients, are the ones paying for these rides. Typically, patients are on the hook for paying for transportation to and from the hospital. Some patients don’t have the money to pay for an Uber, let alone an ambulance, so they may bypass care all together.
However, hospitals and care providers also often end up footing the bill for delayed care and missed appointments. Doctors may have large holes in their schedules as they wait around for no-shows. Delaying care can also worsen patient symptoms as time goes on, resulting in accelerated costs and poor patient outcomes, which can affect facility funding, as well. Putting care providers in charge of transportation can help relieve these issues, so everyone can get the care they need on time.
Where the Company Goes from Here
Ride Health recently closed a $6.2 million seed funding round led by Activate Venture Partner, a New York-based firm that invests in upcoming technology companies. Additional funders include Newark Venture Partners, BioAdvance, and Startup Health. The company plans on using this money to expand to new markets. It is currently available in 10 states across the country. It also organizes rides for the American Cancer Society.
Cronk told the press after the successful round of seed funding, “It’s been a rapid expansion over the last few quarters here. We’re thinking about what Uber did for the taxi industry: brought dynamic pricing based on demand. There might be an opportunity to do that on a large scale for medical mobility.”
We should see Ride Health moving into new states and working with more healthcare organizations in the near future. The results speak for themselves. In one of the company’s first pilot programs with Penn Medicine, the program was able to reduce the average length of stay for hospital patients by six hours.
If you’re looking to reduce patient no-shows, improve the continuity of care, and increase coordination with your patients, learn more about Ride Health and how it’s changing medical transportation for the better.