Transportation barriers reduce access to healthcare services and increase healthcare costs.

Every year, an estimated 3.6 million Americans (including nearly 1 million children) miss medical appointments due to transportation issues. Even Americans who qualify for non-emergency medical transportation services (NEMT) still struggle to find accessible, affordable transportation to and from medical appointments. Researchers have reported that transportation barriers are one of the primary reasons for delayed access to healthcare services due to late, rescheduled or missed appointments.
Image result for consolidated omnibus budget reconciliation actNon-emergency medical transportation is a $6 billion business. According to the Transportation Research Board, Medicaid spends up to $3 billion annually on NEMT services. Yet, transportation is still cited as the main reason patients fail to make their scheduled appointments. Despite the amount of money spent on transportation, difficulties with widespread, reliable access to transportation results in a ripple effect of increased costs that span across the entire healthcare system.
Why? John Brownstein, co-founder of Circulation stated that, “The traditional healthcare transportation model is severely outdated.” The use of outdated technology by third party can lead to logistical breakdowns and escalating costs for the entire healthcare system. Reimbursement restrictions, lack of adequate transportation, last minute cancellations and unreliable service led a multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals, investors and technology innovators to re-think the way healthcare transportation services are provided.
The solution is simple…increase availability of on-demand transportation services, improve access to healthcare services. Time to “Uberize”.
Hospitals and medical centers began partnerships with Uber in order to provide safe, reliable personal transportation services for patients. The key was to remove the hassles and challenges with transportation and help provide rides to underserved patients with chronic disease that can’t afford to miss their appointments. In January, this year, Uber partnered with Columbia, MD based firm MedStar Health to provide reliable transportation to and from medical appointments for patients in Maryland and Washington Dc.
Time to modernize the Uber NEMT experience… Introducing Circulation.
To address the growing concerns about transportation barriers for patients to and from hospitals and medical appointments, and the increased demand for digital technology health care platforms, Circulation introduced a smart digital transportation platform that customizes the rides around the patient’s specific needs to ensure they get the care they need. By partnering with Uber, they also ensure the patient has a safe, positive transportation experience.  
Circulation is a Boston based healthcare transportation startup that offers a HIPPA compliant digital health care transportation platform. The platform includes a patient centered portal which integrates patient health records and scheduling management software offering built-in connectivity between with hospital information systems. Essentially, it allows hospital transport coordinators to schedule and manage on-demand Uber rides for non-emergency patients from a centralized location.
According to Business Wire, “This unique integration marks a significant step forward in providing reliable non-emergency medical transportation”. Also cited in the October 2016 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association, the partnership between Circulation and Uber as a solution to the challenges of providing safe, cost effective non-medical emergency transportation.
Circulation has launched as Uber's Preferred Healthcare Platform Partner and the nation's only all-in-one healthcare transportation platform with built-in connectivity between hospital information systems and the Uber API. Circulation seamlessly brings together all of the patient and on-demand ride data that medical transportation coordinators need onto a centralized, web-based, secure HIPAA-compliant dashboard. By harnessing the power of data, analytics, and on-demand transportation, Circulation provides a smarter, more affordable way to get patients to/from medical appointments and ensure they get the care they deserve.(Photo: Business Wire)
Here’s How it Works:
·         Circulation starts with secure login and automatic verification of customer health insurance and ride eligibility.
·         Patient contact and health information is auto-populated into the system from health system records.
·         Circulation enables hospitals to schedule and manage transportation around patients’ needs and preferences. Scheduling can be done as far in advance as needed and reoccurring appointments can be booked with a simple click to eliminate task duplication.
·         The platform asks if patients require wheelchair assistance or help getting in/out of a vehicle; if they are hearing/vision impaired; travel with a caregiver; and other important factors to determine the best vehicle selection.
·         A growing number of vehicle types are available through Circulation, including uberX and uberXL, and in some cities other options are available, such as UberACCESS.
·         Ride reminders and real-time notifications can also be automatically sent to both patients and their caregivers via phone, text or email to enhance communication.
·         All billing and payment reconciliation with Uber and healthcare organizations is seamlessly handled on the backend of Circulation’s system.
·         To help mitigate fraud and abuse, Circulation’s utilization performance tracking functionality gives administrators the ability to set triggers and detect suspicious activity.
Image result for uber and mercy healthcareThe Uber health care transportation program will initially be piloted with the Boston Children’s Hospital, Mercy Health System’s three acute care hospitals and their PACE, all-inclusive health care program for elderly patients in Pennsylvania, and Nemours Children’s Health System in Wilmington, Delaware.
Meghan Joyce, East Coast regional general manager at Uber stated that, “Circulation is unique in that it seamlessly connects healthcare information systems to a dependable low-cost, end-to-end platform that simplifies and improves patient transportation logistics.”

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