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Lyft and Allscripts are partnering to make it easier for hospitals and doctors' offices to schedule rides for patients who need them.
The ride-hailing service introduced its concierge platform to health-care providers a little over two years ago so doctors' offices and hospitals could order transportation for people. It has since signed deals with several hospital systems and medical transportation companies.
Allscripts will integrate Lyft's technology into its electronic medical records system to eliminate the need for someone to manually order rides. When patients schedule appointments, Allscripts' system will ask if they need transportation.
If they say yes, Allscripts' system will communicate with Lyft's to identify the date and time, then book the ride. Allscripts CEO Paul Black likens the process to a computer-to-computer handshake.
"It's very much the next extension of our entrance into health care," said Lyft Chief Business Officer David Baga. "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."
The companies said they hope working together will reduce the number of people who miss medical appointments because of transportation issues. Patients not showing up can be costly to the health-care system. Offices lose out on revenue, and delaying care can lead to more expensive treatments later on, Black said.
About 3.6 million Americans miss or delay nonemergency medical appointments every year due to such issues, according to a 2005 study published by the National Academy of Sciences.
Offices will be able to see when patients taking Lyft are picked up. They can also access their estimated time of arrival and see whether they'll be late so they can adjust accordingly.
"Not having someone show up is costly for the physician and costly for patients because care is not delivered," Black said. "It's somewhat of literally the last mile, or the last lock of health care, getting the patient involved and making it easier for patients to get to appointments."
Rival Uber announced last week it would launch its own service for health-care professionals to order rides for patients.