Sutter Physician Services links to Lyft to schedule rides for patients

Sutter seeks to solve access issues with the ride-hailing service. And patients do not need the app or even a smartphone.
By Bill Siwicki
11:56 AM
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Sutter uses Lyft to help patients

Sutter offers patients, with documented needs, access to the Lyft transportation to get to appointments. Photo via Flickr

Sutter Physician Services is now enabling patients to catch a lift – from Lyft.

The healthcare management and administrative services company is collaborating with the ride-hailing service to get patients to non-emergent healthcare appointments. 

In so doing, Sutter joins other healthcare organizations such as LogistiCare as well as hospitals including MedStar and Hackensack University Medical Center, which opted for Uber, in tapping into ride services. 

[Also: Lyft, Logisticare partner to expand access for Medicare, Medicaid, elderly patients]

Sutter, in fact, began offering its national healthcare contact center customers access to the Lyft transportation option for those who have challenges traveling to appointments due to age, health, expense, location or other documented needs.

This transportation option can help alleviate patient health concerns amplified by delayed or missed appointments, as well as the financial implications for medical providers due to missed appointments, Sutter said.

Customers of Sutter Physician Services’ registration, scheduling and nurse advice services currently provided through its national contact center who have entered into an agreement with Lyft can have a patient service representative use Lyft’s web-based concierge platform to schedule an immediate or future ride on behalf of their eligible patients. 

[Also: Hackensack University Medical Center calls Uber to transport patients]

The local provider pays for the Lyft, citing, say, a $14 ride to be a cost-effective option for an $80 appointment.

Patients are notified of a driver’s identity and arrival via text message, and the medical providers use the dashboard to monitor timing and status of the ride for predictability of scheduling. Return trips home can also be scheduled by either the patient service representative or the medical provider. 

“With Lyft Concierge, our patient service representatives can offer patients rides to their appointments during the course of their call, and the patient doesn’t need a mobile phone or the Lyft app to take advantage of the service,” Sutter CEO Jeremy Eaves said in a statement. 

Lyft is available in more than 350 cities.

In April 2016, Hackensack University Medical Center inked a deal with Uber to make it easier for patients, staff and visitors to get to the hospital. The New Jersey-based Hackensack said the deal would improve the discharge process and help patients who otherwise struggle to find or afford transportation.

In January 2017 on-demand healthcare start-up CareLinx partnered with Lyft to help elderly patients get to appointments. CareLinx’s CareRide program offers help in non-emergency situations such as routine exams.

And in February 2017, Lyft and LogistiCare, a non-emergency medical transportation manager, announced a three-year partnership to help private, government-assisted and elderly riders make it to their appointments and programs. The companies collaborate in 31 of LogistiCare’s states and 276 cities, according to officials. LogistiCare manages more than 69 million non-emergency medical trips for about 27 million riders annually.

Twitter: @SiwickiHealthIT
Email the writer: bill.siwicki@himssmedia.com