Rideshare service Lyft has partnered up with health record system Epic to offer transportation to medical appointments. The new integration will allow healthcare providers to schedule rides for their patients directly within Epic’s system. Patients do not have to have a Lyft account in order to take advantage of this partnership.
Access to transportation can create a barrier that prevents people from keeping their medical appointments. Especially in rural or underserved communities, patients may be unable to afford reliable transportation, or have access to public bus routes. During COVID-19, people are even more hesitant to get on a bus, where there could be dozens of other people in a small, enclosed space. Epic and Lyft hope that by offering rides to appointments, they can help patients feel safer and enable them to get the treatment they need.
Lyft previously partnered with Allscripts’ Sunrise EHR in 2018, letting patients use the service for non-emergency medical transportation. Uber partnered with Epic rival Cerner earlier this year, offering similar services. Insurers like Medicaid that offer services to lower-income families and individuals are happy to foot the bill for nonemergency medical transportation, which is a $3 million industry in the U.S. alone. So far, the service is being used in two hospital systems in the U.S.—Ochsner Health in Louisiana, and Tampa General in Florida.
"Our goal at Lyft is to alleviate the burden that transportation insecurity has on patients, understand its impact on utilization of healthcare services and outcomes, and ultimately tailor technology-enabled transportation programs to meet patients' needs," said Lyft Vice President of Healthcare, Megan Callahan. "With Epic, we are working toward helping our joint customers demonstrate how their SDOH programs impact their patients and their organizations."
In an industry that is experiencing a high level of burnout, Epic and Lyft have made sure the new system integrates seamlessly into providers’ existing workflow, so doctors will be more likely to use it. As it’s a simple click of a button within the Epic system, providers won’t need to worry about adding on to their already-mounting clerical workload or having to jump back and forth between applications.