May 17, 2020

Lyft launches its own non-emergency transportation service, set to rival UberHealth

healthcare services
USA
EHR
healthcare services
Catherine Sturman
3 min
Lyft sidecar (Google Images)
Upon the announcement of Uber’s healthcare transportation service, UberHealth, Lyft has now revealed that it is set to launch its own non-emergency tr...

Upon the announcement of Uber’s healthcare transportation service, UberHealth, Lyft has now revealed that it is set to launch its own non-emergency transportation service.

Although Uber has undergone a number of bad management, sexism and a recent lawsuit surrounding its lack of wheelchair accessible vehicles, ride sharing company Lyft has been quietly cementing its grip on the transportation market, alongside global competitors such as Grab and GO-JEK.

The collaboration with health-IT solutions provider Allscripts will add to Lyft’s work within the healthcare space, which has been underway since 2016. By working with a number of healthcare providers, insurers and professionals within all areas of the healthcare ecosystem, its mission is to break down barriers and close the transportation gap by up to 50% by 2020.  

In a blog, Chief Business Officer David Baga has explained: “We’ve built specialised tools tailored to the industry that have allowed our partners to schedule and manage thousands of rides each day. So instead of filling rooms with people and cell phones, healthcare organisations nationwide are using our solutions to quickly and conveniently arrange thousands of rides per day”

“We’ve partnered with the top five health systems in the US., and nine of the ten largest. We work with the top ten health brokers that manage non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT). Our partners include some of the biggest players in healthcare, like Blue Cross Blue Shield, LogistiCare, and now Allscripts.”

Its partnership with Allscripts will enable Lyft to incorporate non-emergency transportation directly into the physician’s workflow. Through leveraging Lyft’s proprietary application programming interface (API) and Allscripts Open platform, the companies plan to integrate this functionality, into Allscripts Sunrise electronic health record (EHR), to enable clinicians to order the Lyft service for patients.

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The service will appeal to those with frequent medical appointments, those with disabilities, and of course, those who wish to utilise a service which is tailored specifically for the healthcare sector and partnered with a renowned healthcare company.

"It's very much the next extension of our entrance into health care," Lyft's Chief Business Officer David Baga informed CNBC. "We very much believe it's going to take a collaborative effort, and we think that 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."

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. Lyft will therefore seek to reduce this through its partnership with Allscripts, remove such barriers and improve access to vital healthcare services.

Allscripts Sunrise EHR offers an intelligent, comprehensive suite of solutions for large, multi-specialty institutions. Built on an Open platform with advanced clinical decision support, it provides immediate analysis and insights across inpatient, ambulatory, emergency and other high-acuity care settings.

The partnership will see Allscripts integrate Sunrise EHR with Lyft’s Concierge API. This will give healthcare providers greater visibility of whether a patient will attend the appointment scheduled and deliver real-time insights within patient pickup, ETA and arrival for providers and other members of the care team.  This will reduce healthcare costs of missed appointments and ensure the delivery of improved patient care.

“Health IT should always put the patient first and this partnership is representative of Allscripts commitment to connecting communities and helping providers deliver services their patients need,” commented Paul Black, Allscripts Chief Executive Officer.

“Our Open platform and vision for true interoperability enables us to work with a range of partners to deliver innovative solutions in all areas of care, and we feel it’s our responsibility to provide tools to help consumers access care.”

Edited to reflect Lyft’s ongoing work within the healthcare space since 2016

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Jun 14, 2021

Long haul Covid, the brain and digital therapies

#longcovid
#digitaltherapy
#neuroplasticity
#covid19
4 min
Neuroplasticity expert Ashok Gupta tells us about the symptoms of long Covid, how it affects the brain, and digital therapies

It is estimated that around 10% of people who get Covid-19 develop long haul Covid, a debilitating condition that can last many months and cause breathlessness, exhaustion and pain. 

Research is underway to find out who is more likely to get it and how to treat it. Here neuroplasticity expert and owner of Harley Street Solutions in London Ashok Gupta tells us how the condition affects the brain. 

What is long Covid exactly? 

Long Covid is when patients who have experienced Covid-19 go on to have continuing symptoms for weeks and months afterwards. These symptoms can include breathlessness, exhaustion, brain fog, gastric issues, pain, and post-exertional malaise. It is estimated that around 10% of Covid-19 infections may result in developing long haul symptoms, and in the USA, this may be affecting over 3 million people.

How does it affect the brain?
Here at our clinic, we hypothesise that it is due to a malfunction in the unconscious brain, creating a conditioned response that keeps the body in a hyper-aroused state of defensiveness. At the core of this hypothesis is the idea that we are here because our nervous system and immune system have evolved to survive. We are survival machines!

When we encounter something such as Covid-19, the brain perceives it as life threatening, and rightly so. And in the era of the pandemic, with more stress, anxiety and social isolation, our immunity may be compromised, and therefore it may take longer for the immune system to fight off the virus and recover. 

If the brain makes the decision that this is potentially life threatening and we get to the stage where we’re overcoming the virus, a legacy is left in the brain; it keeps over-responding to anything that reminds us of the virus. Even if we’ve fought off the virus, the brain will react in a precautionary way to stimuli reminiscent of the virus. 

The brain may get stuck in that overprotective response, and keeps stimulating our nervous system and our immune system, just in case the virus may still be present.

What symptoms does this cause? 

These signals cause a cascade of symptoms including breathlessness, extreme fatigue, brain fog, loss of taste or smell, headaches, and many others. And these are caused by our own immunes system.

In the case of long-haul Covid, symptoms in the body get detected by a hypersensitive brain which thinks we’re still in danger. The brain then chronically stimulates the immune and nervous systems, and then we have a continuation of a chronic set of symptoms.

This isn’t unique to long-haul Covid. Many patients develop chronic fatigue syndrome, sometimes known as “ME”, for example, after the flu, a stomach bug, or respiratory illness. Covid-19 may be a severe trigger of a form of chronic fatigue syndrome or ME.

How does long-haul Covid affect mental health? 
Anxiety is a very common symptom in long haulers. It can be frightening to wonder about what may be happening in your body, and what the prognosis is going to be for one’s long term health. Reaching out for support for mental health is crucial for long-haulers.

How does neuroplasticity treatment work for long-haul COVID patients?
We have been working with patients for two decades with a brain retraining programme using neuroplasticity or “limbic retraining.” 

We believe that through neural rewiring, the brain can be “persuaded” that we are no longer in danger and to come back to homeostasis. But to be very clear, we are not saying it is psychological in any way, but we believe there are novel ways of accessing the unconscious brain. 

We recently worked successfully with a 56-year-old male with long-haul Covid, who prior to contracting Covid-19 in March of 2020 was running half-marathons and cycling, but afterwards he struggled to get off the sofa for months. Within 3 months he’s now back to 100% and  running half marathons again.

At our clinic, we train the patient to be able to recognise those subtle unconscious danger signals on the periphery of consciousness. This, coupled with supportive techniques and the natural hallmarks of good health such as sleep and diet help prepare the patient to respond to perceived threats that might trigger the response. 

The natural state of our brain is to default to protection. The brain prioritises survival and passing on our genes to the next generation, over any other impulse. It cares more about that than you feeling healthy and well. Protective responses are evolutionary, and are the right thing for the brain to do – it’s survival. 

What digital therapies or apps are proving effective at treating long-haul Covid? 
It seems that long haul patients are availing themselves of many online therapies and services, including meditation apps and wellness websites. We have an online neuroplasticity “brain retraining” video course called the “Gupta Program” which hosts 15 interactive videos and many audio exercises. This is proving very popular with long haul patients, and we are currently conducting a trial to test the effectiveness of this therapy. 

What is the danger of leaving long-haul Covid untreated?
The longer it goes untreated, we hypothesise that it may become more entrenched in the brain, and  become chronic in the longer term. Therefore we advise all patients to get help and advice as soon as possible.

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