The two biggest rideshare companies have started this year to move into medical transport services.
However, those looking for an alternative need to know the differences between getting a ride from Uber and Lyft and hiring a NEMT service such as Flying Angels.
Comparing Medical Transport Services
Medical travel is a big industry and a very important one. According to JAMA Internal Medicine, about 3.6 million residents in the United States miss healthcare appointments because they do not have reliable transportation.
This can lead to increased emergency room visits, higher healthcare bills, readmission to hospitals and, eventually, higher costs across the medical insurance industry. NEMT companies such as Flying Angels have emerged as safe, reliable transportation for those who need to travel for medical visits.
Issues With Rideshare Medical Transport
There are several issues facing companies such as Uber and Lyft attempting to move into the medical transport services business.
As pointed out by The Verge, they include:
- Data security. The data of patients getting picked up and dropped off could be at risk, even though the technology being used is compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Although it didn’t involve medical transport, Uber already has been hacked and the information on 57 million riders and drivers was exposed.
- Wheelchair accessibility. As pointed out by The Verge, Uber “doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to wheelchair accessibility.” The company already has been sued by disability advocates and accused of denying equal access to rides for the disabled in violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act.
- Medical personal. Many patients need drivers who have some type of medical certification, which is something that neither ridesharing company is yet offering, according to comments from a NEMT company official in USA Today.
Flying Angels Difference
While the medical transportation market might be an opportunity for the ridesharing companies, existing services offer far more to clients.
Flying Angels, for example, handles all the booking of transportation. They also handle more than just ground transport. They can provide Non-Emergency Medical Transport by commercial airline to both international and domestic destinations including Hawaii.
Perhaps most importantly, every patient travels with a flight nurse. These nurses have years of experience working in emergency rooms. They are certified to provide medical aid while flying. They bring equipment and medication for patients. They work with airlines and medical facilities to ensure trips go as smoothly as possible.
The differences between an experienced company such as Flying Angels and the rideshare services are vast. As pointed out by an NEMT official to USA Today, “I’m not sure new entrants into this market can do what we do.”