Ridesharing company, Lyft has had a busy past few months tying up partnerships, the latest being a deal with blockchain healthcare startup, Solve.Care to increase access and options for non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT).
Under the terms of the partnership, Solve.Care clients will be able to use the company’s Care.Wallet to schedule Lyft rides to doctors’ offices, hospitals, and pharmacies. The users will also be able to pay for their rides using their Care.Wallet. In addition, patients can share ride costs with their family members, employers and insurers.
Solve.Care said the collaboration allowed for coordination between patient, provider and family members, regarding assistance, arrival, cost and schedule adjustments.
Solve.Care Chief Executive Officer, Pradeep Goel, said they were continuously working to offer better access to medical care. “By partnering with Lyft, our platform will provide a more efficient and seamless experience for patients and enable payers, employers, and other agencies to improve patient satisfaction through timely access to care, reduced wait times, and simpler cost-sharing and access to transportation subsidies.”
The partnership between Lyft and Solve.Care has been described as the first of its kind in the healthcare industry, because it brings together blockchain technology and a ridesharing service. The two companies hope they can make it easier for patients to get to their appointments, reducing no-show costs for providers and improving continuity of care for patients.
Solve.Care is an Estonian healthcare IT company that has developed a blockchain platform for coordination, administration, and payment of healthcare. With the deal, the startup, together with Lyft, hope they can gain access to a larger number of options on NEMT transportation.
NEMT is quite a topical issue because of changes brought by the Trump administration that allow states to limit NEMT or to adopt waivers to exclude it as a benefit. But the outlook is bright for NEMT providers, because health insurers might find it in their best interests to reduce the net cost of care provision and effective transportation services, such as Lyft, are seen as a way to achieve this. In addition, the partnership could help Solve.Care and Lyft better track who uses the service and identify how this improves access to healthcare and improves downstream outcomes.
Blockchain solutions are increasingly gaining popularity in the health sector.
Recently, IBM Canada announced a partnership with Boehringer Ingelheim to use blockchain technology to improve the quality of clinical trial processes and record keeping.
In addition, IBM, Aetna, Anthem, Health Care Service Corporation and PNC Bank announced a collaboration to design and create a network using blockchain technology to improve transparency and interoperability in the healthcare industry.
On its end, Lyft has been rapidly spreading its tentacles in the healthcare sector. In February, Lyft announced that it was expanding its collaboration with Humana and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Institute, a subsidiary and independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) through its work with Logisticare to service patients on Medicare Advantage (MA) plans.
In November 2018, Call9, a telehealth startup that specializes in care performed in nursing homes, and Lyft announced a collaboration to provide transport services for family members of patients in the former’s facilities.
Lyft is eyeing a bigger NEMT role and has expanded its concierge platform. The company said insights from its “Economic Impact Report” showed that there was a growing demand for NEMT and it was now working on consolidating its position in offering transportation to medical appointments.
According to the Healthcare Dive website, in an S-1 form filed in March with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company listed its partnerships with healthcare systems as a major source of economic benefit for communities by helping ensure patients get to their medical appointments.
Lyft gauges that about a third of its bookings are for medical transportation.
It is estimated that 3.6 million Americans miss medical appointments annually due to lack of reliable transportation. Lyft says it is working on consolidating its partnerships with medical service providers, with the goal of reducing this number by half by 2020.
Lyft already has a partnerships with CareMore Health, a division of Anthem and Hackensack Meridian Health and last year it announced that it was working with American Medical Response (AMR) and its business unit Access2Care (A2C) to offer alternative transportation options for routine medical care to thousands of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries.