Contradicting an earlier study, the results of a pilot program run through Minneapolis system Hennepin Healthcare by rideshare giant Lyft and healthcare tech company Hitch Health indicate offering patients transportation can cut down on no-shows and boost revenue.
The year-long non-emergency medical transportation pilot at the Hennepin Healthcare internal medicine clinic in downtown MInneapolis used Hitch Health's proprietary, automated technology to offer Lyft rides via SMS text to patients who needed a ride and had missed past medical appointments. The clinic was the first to employ the transportation technology solution for a full year.
Hitch's software allowed ride offers to be generated through an SMS text and matched with the appointment. It also automated the return ride by allowing the patient to text "ready" when they were done with their appointment and able to go home. The patient did not have to actually schedule the ride themselves. To date Hitch Health's proprietary, patent pending technology has provided more than 10,000 rides at Hennepin Healthcare, the company said.
The results of the pilot showed a 27 percent reduction in the clinic's no-show rate. It dropped from 31 percent to 22.5 percent, and resulted in an estimated increase in revenue of $270,000. That comes out to a an ROI of roughly 297 percent.
"When a patient does not show up for an appointment, the clinic loses money - an average of $100 for each scheduled visit. When the 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 and Lyft said in a joint statement."
Hitch and Lyft cited a national statistic indicating that 25 percent of patients who do not show up for a clinic or doctor's office appointment said transportation was the reason. However, another study published in JAMA said that offering rideshare services to patients had almost no effect on the no-show rate.
Still, access to care has proven to be a challenge for many systems, especially when it comes to elderly patients and those that live far away from a facility or who face complicated public transportation routes to get there. Such technologies are being tested at other systems as well.
Hackensack Meridian Health, a major New Jersey system, also launched a rideshare partnership with Lyft in May and in the first three months has seen similar results to Hennepin, with a 25 percent reduction in no-shows. The service was first offered through their anchor hospital, JFK Medical Center, but there are plans to expand it to all the hospitals in the system.