May 17, 2020

Hitch Health and Lyft lead a 27% reduction in missed medical appointments

health transportation
healthcare services
Catherine Sturman
4 min
Focused on delivering health solutions that remove barriers for all patients – regardless of economic or social circumstances, Hitch Health has sought...

Focused on delivering health solutions that remove barriers for all patients – regardless of economic or social circumstances, Hitch Health has sought to improve patient health, alongside Lyft, the fastest growing ride-hailing company in the US.

Hitch Health has now released the results of a year-long non-emergency medical transportation pilot programme, demonstrating a significant decline in patient no-shows and increased revenue at the Hennepin Healthcare internal medicine clinic, which is the first to employ the transportation technology solution.

The pilot programme, situated in in downtown Minneapolis, employed Hitch Health’s proprietary, automated technology to offer Lyft rides via SMS text to patients-in-need who had previously missed medical appointments.

"We think this kind of technology integration is going to be a critical path for being successful in terms of breaking down those barriers for access to transportation for the patient community," Lyft's Chief Business Officer David Baga previously informed CNBC.

Today, 3.6mn Americans have transportation issues that prevent them from getting to or from a doctor’s appointment, and 25% of lower-income patients have missed or rescheduled appointments due to lack of transportation.

Nationally, 25% of patients who do not show up for a clinic or doctor’s office appointment noted transportation as the reason.

Through the pilot, the company have provided a 27% reduction of the clinic no-show rate – from 31% to 22.5%. This has therefore unlocked an estimated increase in medicine clinic revenue to $270,000, with a 297% return on investment.

If a patient misses an appointment, it can cost the clinic up to $100 and the health system up to $150bn each year. When a patient accepts a ride from Hitch Health - Lyft to/from the appointment, the clinic typically pays less than $15 each way – netting more than $70 - a win for the clinic and the patient.

“Hitch Health provides a remarkable ROI for clinics and healthcare systems,” stated Hitch Health co-founder Susan Jepson. “Even more important than the ROI is the immediate upstream shift of care from emergency rooms to ambulatory clinics.

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“Hitch Health is focused on shifting medical care to health care. Ultimately, these results demonstrate the far-reaching implications Hitch Health can have on communities nationwide.”

 “Earlier this year Lyft made a commitment to reduce the healthcare transportation gap by 50% by 2020,” commented Gyre Renwick, Vice President of Lyft Business.

Lyft Business also offers travel, commute, event, and courtesy ride solutions to reduce costs, save time, and streamline customer transportation.

“We’re excited by these early pilot results, which demonstrate that strategic partnerships in healthcare can have a significant impact on patients’ lives. We are looking forward to reaching even more people across the country with Hitch Health to ensure transportation is no longer a barrier to accessing healthcare.”

At present, Hitch Health is the only non-emergency healthcare transportation company utilising this proprietary technology to securely connect to healthcare providers’ electronic health records to identify patients who may benefit from a free, convenient ride to and from a clinic, hospital or doctor’s office.

The software’s flexibility allows health systems to customise ride offers through filters. Ride offers are generated through an SMS text and matched with appointments, so patients and clinical staff do not need to schedule rides to and from their own home.

Additionally, the findings have also shown that patients favour the service, ranking the experience over 9/10 in relation to customer satisfaction.

“We worked with patients to develop this service, which is why it is has proven to be more effective than other non-emergency medical transportation options out there,” noted Jepson.

 “It is fully automated and seamless for the patient and the clinic – there are no phone calls to make or passes to keep track of – making it simple to understand and easy to use.”

Hitch Health’s proprietary, patent pending technology has provided more than 10,000 rides at Hennepin Healthcare, whilst the Hitch Health – Lyft programme is live nationally.

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Jun 23, 2021

NHSX releases new data plans, experts call for transparency

3 min
NHSX has published a new strategy for patient data sharing, with experts calling for transparency

Patients in England will get "greater control" over their health and care data according to new proposals set out by the government. 

In a new draft strategy called "Data saves lives: reshaping health and social care with data", Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock says that more effective use of data will deliver better patient-focused care. "This strategy seeks to put people in control of their own data, while supporting the NHS in creating a modernised system fit for the 21st century which puts patients and staff in pole position." 

Under the new plans people will be able to access their medical records from different parts of the health system through different applications, to access test results, medication lists, procedures and care plans. 

The strategy, published by NHSX, the government department that sets policies for the use of technology within the NHS, follows delays to the creation of a central database of patient records amid concerns over data sharing and a lack of transparency, with critics saying that only a small proportion of the public were made aware of the plans and the choice to opt out. 

Kevin Curran,  senior member of The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and Professor of Cybersecurity at the University of Ulster, says that moving health records online raises concerns. "The move to an online app does seem like a natural progression, however there is a difference between having computerised records within our healthcare IT infrastructure and having those records reside on a public facing server. 

"Having records inhouse limits the range and type of access – it's far more difficult for remote hackers" Curran said. "There are techniques that healthcare organisations can use to reduce the risk of future data breaches. One way is to make it ‘opt in’, so patients have the choice to decide whether their medical information is moved to a public facing service so that they can access it. 

"However, those who do not opt in or download the app instead should have their records hosted in a non-public-facing cloud service. This way, if a data breach does occur, those who never used the app, or not wanted to, will not have had their details released." 

The new strategy has been welcomed by some, with an emphasis on the need for transparency.  Adam Steventon, Director of Data Analytics at the Health Foundation, said: "Health data has played a critical role in the last year – from tracking COVID-19 outbreaks and developing treatments, to getting people booked in for their vaccines. It is critical that the use of data is accelerated if the NHS is to tackle the backlog of care and address the massive health challenges facing the country. 

"It is particularly positive that the government has committed to building analytical and data science capability in the NHS and to improving data on social care. To ensure the full potential of data can be realised, the government must ensure transparency on how it will be used and the rights and options people have, as well as engaging with the public and health care professionals to build trust and show people how their data can improve the NHS and save lives." 

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