San Francisco, CA — As it prepares to go public, Uber, which expects to sell an eye-popping $10 billion of stock during its initial public offering, is simultaneously mapping out its continued expansion into health care. Last week, the world’s biggest rideshare app filed a form S-1, in which a company must detail its business model, and Uber indicated that it will increase its provision of affordable rides to and from doctors’ offices for patients in need. The service is part of Uber Health, which the the company claims is HIPAA-compliant and was created last year.

More than 100 health care systems have already made use of Uber Health, whose services are integrable, by design, into existing patient workflows. Uber’s biggest competitor, Lyft—which is set to go public shortly before Uber—boasts similar partnerships, and it even pledged last year to cut the number of missed doctors’ appointment in half by 2020. Both companies plan to grow these sorts of offerings. As Uber noted in its S-1 filing, it will have to work with “additional healthcare-related federal and state laws and regulations.”

Under the Uber Health program, patients don’t order a car through the Uber app. Rather, they schedule a ride through their managed care provider and receive a text with the driver’s name, make and model of the car, and ETA. Critics claim that such a program would push traditional, life-saving ambulance services out of the market, though Uber maintains that, without onboard medical care, its offering is no substitute for emergency medical transit.

In Florida, the matter of transit to and from health care providers is particularly pronounced, especially among the state’s elderly population. Last week, Florida’s House of Representatives passed a bill that, if approved by the Senate, will have Medicaid patients’ non-emergency transit via rideshare services to and from doctors’ appointments included in their managed care coverage. A study at Stanford demonstrated that programs like this save $4 billion annually.

Why This Matters

Across the health care landscape, innovators are adopting increasingly human-centric mindsets, looking at their patients more holistically than ever. The OhioHealth Riverside Family Practice in Columbus, Ohio saw that many of its patients—including a large number with diabetes—could not afford the nutritious food they needed to combat their conditions. So, the health system started screening patients for food insecurity, and eligible participants visit the practice twice a month to receive fresh produce and wholesome canned goods. Patients are thereby equipped with more of the resources they need to fight their illness and live healthily.

To get the right care to the right people, brands are working to create frictionless patient journeys. Every step of a patient’s journey—including getting out of the house and to their provider—is relevant, as leaders are stepping in to ease struggles previously ignored.

About the Author:

Ben helps spark innovative healthcare thinking as Associate Director of Innovation. Previously on the editorial staff of Vanity Fair, he brings experience in engaging, rigorous storytelling to the healthcare world. Ben’s goals are to move brands to rethink their roles, own their evolving narratives, and maintain vital and vigorous consumer relationships.