7 community health care services Uber drivers could deliver

With faster response times and a growing list of drivers that have delivered babies, Uber is ready to take on additional health care challenges


Uber, the on-demand car service that is changing the vehicle sharing and taxicab industry, is uniquely poised to deliver on-demand community health care services.

An Uber policy gifts an Uber Rider onesie (your EMS agency needs to do this) to any child born in one of its tens of thousands of privately owned and independently operated ride-share vehicles, reported Business Insider. If Uber drivers are bearing witness to childbirth, as reported by the New York Post and have faster response times than ambulances in London and New York,  the Jimmy Kimmel parody of an "Ubulance" may not be that farfetched.

The teetering U.S. health care system is a prime target for consumer-driven innovation. If that innovation does not come from existing the health care infrastructure, including EMS, consumers will look for easier to use and more cost effective solutions. Here are seven community health care services and innovations Uber drivers could begin to deliver immediately.

1. Integrate the PulsePoint app into the Uber app

The PulsePoint app connects willing members of the public with notifications of a cardiac arrest patient in their vicinity. Notifying Uber drivers and riders of a nearby cardiac arrest patient, as well as the closet AED, could substantially increase the pool of bystanders notified that CPR is in progress.

2. Give every driver an AED and CPR anytime course

Author and tech company owner Minqi Jiang proposed Uber 911. He suggested the combination of Uber's easy-to-use app and fast response times be used to increase sudden cardiac arrest survival.[1]

Uber is flush with venture capital cash and should begin awarding drivers an AED as a recognition milestone for reaching a certain number of trips, miles, or passengers driven. Since Uber drivers congregate in mass gathering areas like airports, sporting events, and other transportation hubs, they might be the closest and the fastest to reach a person in cardiac arrest. Cardiac arrest saves would guarantee ongoing free publicity for Uber as use of the service grows.

3. Medication delivery and compliance checks

Medical clinics could hire Uber drivers to deliver medications and ask medication compliance questions to homebound patients. If the patient is ill or needs non-emergency transport to the hospital their ride is already there.

4. Non-emergent transport for uninjured minors

A motor vehicle collision with an injured parent and uninjured children is not an unusual incident for ambulance response. Mom needs the stretcher, but how do you secure the infant in the car seat or the toddler on the squad bench? Safely securing children, especially uninjured children, is difficult at best and not the optimal safe transport option. Instead summon an Uber to transport those children using an undamaged car seat which is connected to Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) system built into all passenger cars, trucks, and minivans since 2001.

5. A ride home after hospital discharge

Getting unadmitted patients out of the emergency department and home or out of a bed on the floor after discharge and home is a challenge for many hospitals and their EMS partners. For the many patients that don't have an actual medical necessity for oxygen, fluid monitoring, or stretcher transport, request an Uber car to transport those patients home; on demand, quickly, and cheaper than an ambulance crew.

6. Administration of lifesaving care

We have seen many ALS interventions – Narcan, defibrillation, and epinephrine for anaphylaxis – move into the hands of laypeople. Equip Uber drivers with an EpiPen and Narcan intranasal spray, after completing the same amount of training teachers and police officers are required to use those devices. Add a tourniquet to the driver's first aid kit and along with their AED, they are ready for many everyday life-threatening emergencies.

7. Give intoxicated patients another choice

The next time you hear a police officer tell an intoxicated person to choose between jail or the hospital, suggest a third alternative – an Uber ride home. If the patient's only problem is intoxication and they are able to refuse assessment and treatment, they don't need jail or a hospital. They need a ride home. I suspect Uber drivers, like their taxicab brethren, are fairly adept and experienced at transporting people that have had too much to drink. This also has the added advantage of putting police and EMS units back in service quicker.

What are other public safety applications for Uber?

The use of Uber as a compliment to public safety is not limited to EMS. Uber drivers could respond to what are likely to be false fire alarms from high frequency alarm locations like college dormitories and high schools.

What are your ideas for health care and public safety challenges that could take advantage of the Uber app and its tens of thousands of drivers?

References

1. Uber 911

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