Uber partners with health care system to transport patients

MedStar Health will give patients the option to request an Uber to go to their health care appointments

COLUMBIA, Md. — MedStar Health, a nonprofit health care system in Maryland and the Washington D.C. region, announced a collaboration with ride-booking app Uber to give patients a new transportation option to and from health care appointments.

Patients who miss appointments or have to reschedule at the last minute frequently cite transportation as a factor.

Through this relationship, a "Ride with Uber" button will be displayed on MedStarHealth.org. MedStar patients will be able to find out the wait time and approximate cost of a ride and then request one. They also will be able to set a ride reminder to automatically notify them an hour before their appointment and keep them on schedule. 

"Our partnership with Uber is but one small step toward a future where technology-enabled patient engagement rivals other industries that have been disrupted by digital technology," said Michael Ruiz, MedStar vice president and chief digital officer.

Uber is available throughout the MedStar service area, which extends from north of Baltimore to Washington, D.C., northern Virginia and southern Maryland.

"Uber is a reliable option — day or night — regardless of where you need to go," said Zuhairah Washington, general manager of Uber DC. "Our collaboration with MedStar can help patients better plan their transportation to and from appointments, and ensure they never miss an appointment because they don’t have a ride."

Over the past seven years, MedStar has increased its number of care access points from 95 in 2007 to 253 in 2014, and is on track to open six new outpatient centers in 2016.  In addition to bricks-and-mortar sites, MedStar said it has made a significant commitment to using digital technology to help consumers find physicians and schedule appointments online.

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