Lack of reliable medical transport accounts for over 3.6 million cases of missed medical appointments and poor illness management, even when good health care is readily available. This case of transportation barrier is common among low-income earners in urban and suburban areas, who need reliable transportation from their homes to the healthcare centers.
Ford Motor Co. is officially launching its non-emergency medical shuttle service in partnership with Beaumont Health Network.
Called GoRide, the fleet has 15 Ford Transit Vans that cover more than 200 facilities in Southeast Michigan. This on-demand medical transportation service started as a pilot in late 2017 with five Ford Transit Vans.
The fleet of on-demand medical transportation service can accommodate the elderly, those in wheelchairs and those with other mobility challenges. It is also available for patients who do not have easy access to transportation. The on-demand medical transportation service can be pre-booked up to 30 days in advance and is in most cases, booked by the medical staff, including discharge or unit clerks.
Patients can also book GoRide directly. It is designed to streamline daily operations for medical staff. Ford says the interior space and flexible seating options are the key to GoRide’s successful implementation.
“There’s no excuse for the fact that so many people have trouble simply making it to their medical appointments,” said Marion Harris, vice president, Ford Mobility Business Group.
The Advent of On-Demand Medical Transportation Services
In March, Uber announced Uber Health to resolve the ‘lack of reliable medical transportation’ problem in rural areas. Uber Health will transport patients who cannot either access or afford reliable ambulance rides. Similar to GoRide, Uber Health can be pre-booked 30 days in advance for subsequent appointments.
The advent of Uber in cities across the United States has reduced per capita ambulance volume by 7 percent nationwide. One possible explanation is that Uber availability has reduced the number of crashes or drunken drivers or both. The more likely explanation is that Ambulance trips are costly to patients and their insurance companies, and so people likely look for a way to avoid them.
Similarly, Lyft announced plans to cut the problem of the American health care transportation in half by 2020. Currently, it provides API access to partners like Allscripts, Ascension, and Blue Cross Blue Shield to integrate its taxi service into health platforms and health records services.
Healthcare institutions like hospitals, clinics, rehab centers, home care centers, senior care facilities, and physical therapy centers can extend the care by patterning with GoRide to get patients from their homes thereby reducing issues related to missed/delayed medical appointments.