Getting to healthcare appointments can be challenging for some without access to a vehicle or public transportation, or just need extra assistance. In fact, transportation challenges have been identified as one of the largest obstacles to healthcare access. About 3.6 million miss or delay non-emergency medical care each year because of transportation issues, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Several cities are trying innovative technology approaches to explore new ways for people to get to health appointments. Here are five mobility-on-demand (MOD) apps and partnerships that are getting people to their doctors’ appointments, physical therapy sessions and more.
1. MOD connecting shuttles
In a deal with Ford and Bridj, Kansas City, Mo., is conducting a one-year pilot that connects downtown Kansas City with several neighborhoods and the University of Kansas Medical Center. The shuttles are a gateway to existing public transit stops and bike-share programs.
2. MOD rides for senior patients
Lyft created a dashboard for National Medtrans Network in New York City and is bringing more than 2,500 riders each week to non-emergency medical appointments. Called Concierge, the tool allows health care professionals to request rides for patients by entering their name, pick-up location and destination. The riders do not need to have smartphones.
3. MOD options for paratransit riders
To lower costs, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority is offering Boston’s subsidized paratransit riders the option to use Uber and Lyft apps to get where they need to go. The partnership is the first of its kind in the United States.
In Boulder, Colo., zTrip launched an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) option for wheelchair taxi service.
4. MOD for seniors and those on fixed incomes
Since many seniors do not drive, most ride sharing companies are marketing to them on some level. Via, a MOD app which dynamically routes shuttles to provide shared rides in New York City, Chicago and Washington D.C. for a flat fee, is popular with older riders.
5. MOD with trained service
LiftHero lets passengers that need a little more than a ride hail one through a mobile app or over the telephone. Trained healthcare professionals are often the drivers, and they help passengers door-to-door with bags, groceries and assisted living equipment.