Lyft & Allscripts Partner Up

The popularity once enjoyed by cabs in big cities has within the past few years largely been overtaken by Uber and Lyft – the new age ride sharing companies whose independent contractor drivers can now be found virtually all over the United States.  As the idea behind Uber and Lyft has gained in popularity, so too have ideas stemming off of them.  As USA Today reported on Monday, March 5, 2018, Lyft is partnering with Allscripts Healthcare Solutions, Inc., one of the nation’s leading electronic health records companies, in an effort to help arrange for the transportation of patients who otherwise cannot get to their medical appointments or are in need of non-emergency transportation.

Under the plan for this new partnership, the two companies would integrate their platforms into the daily routines of over 2,500 hospitals, 45,000 physician practices, and 180,000 physicians – to reach an estimated 7 million patients.  The application would allow the medical facilities to hail multiple Lyft drivers at one time, while simultaneously sending patients the ride details via text message.  Patient pickup, expected arrival and actual arrival times would all be sent on the platform to the patient’s treating healthcare personnel, helping to streamline the scheduling process.  The current scheme allows for the healthcare provider to cover the cost of the rides depending on patient eligibility, which varies depending on patient health and patient financial considerations.

As Lyft chief business officer David Baga told USA Today, Lyft plans not only to work with physicians on this idea, but also with regulators, transportation brokers, other companies in the tech industry, and insurers because all play a part in coordinating and determining eligibility for the proposed services.  A major incentive for health care providers to join this program is the potential for cost savings.  Not only would Lyft rides be cheaper and more cost efficient when compared to taxis, shuttle buses and vans, and other transportation, but they would help immensely with another aspect many may not initially consider: missed appointments. According to SCI Solutions and as cited by USA Today, missed appointments alone cost healthcare providers upwards of $150 billion a year.  Some areas experience no-show rates as high as 30% of overall appointment numbers.

This partnership marks a significant event for the healthcare industry, both as a potential industry-wide cost-saving mechanism and as further proof of the healthcare industry’s commitment to reshaping itself to change along with the times.  As this partnership plays out, it will be interesting to keep an eye on how effective it is in helping patients, in cutting costs, and if other ancillary considerations or concerns come about.