Uber Health lets doctor's offices order patients a ride

Have a doctor's appointment on your calendar but no way to get there? Uber just launched a new service that may solve that problem.

Dubbed Uber Health, the service lets healthcare professionals order their patients a ride. More than 100 US healthcare organizations – "including hospitals, clinics, rehab centers, senior care facilities, home care centers, and physical therapy centers" – have already been using the new service as part of a beta program, Uber Health General Manager Chris Weber wrote in a blog post.

"Every year, 3.6 million Americans miss doctor appointments due to a lack of reliable transportation," Weber pointed out, citing research from the Community Transportation Association. "These barriers are greatest for vulnerable populations, including patients with the highest burden of chronic disease."

With Uber Health, healthcare professionals can schedule rides for their patients to take immediately, or up to 30 days in the future.

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"This allows for transportation to be scheduled for follow-up appointments while still at the healthcare facility," Weber wrote. "Multiple rides can be scheduled and managed at the same time, all from a single dashboard."

As a patient, you don't even need to have a smartphone to take advantage of this new service. Uber will send you a text message with your trip details or call your mobile phone or landline with this information.

"For many, their first ever Uber ride will be through Uber Health, so we're committed to providing the necessary education tools that ensure every patient feels comfortable and at ease during their journey," Weber wrote.

The list of healthcare organizations participating in the beta includes: Adams Clinical, Blood Centers of the Pacific, Georgetown Home Care, LifeBridge Health, MedStar Health, Manhattan Women's Health, NYU Perlmutter Cancer Center, Pro Staff Physical Therapy, ProActive Work Health Services, Project Open Hand, Renown Health, Thundermist Health Center and Yale New Haven Health. Uber says the system is HIPAA compliant and lets organizations "easily keep track of what they're spending on rides."

Meanwhile, this isn't Uber's first foray into healthcare. The company in 2015 experimented with on-demand flu shots.

This article originally appeared on PCMag.com.