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Uber Health’s Health IT Deal to Ease Transportation, SDOH Referral

The integration will make it easier for Uber Health users to identify patients with SDOH and transportation needs and check their benefit eligibility.

Health IT company Socially Determined is teaming up with Uber Health to make it easier for payers and providers to flag patients with social determinants of health barriers, like transportation access, and get them the rides they need, the pair said in a joint press release.

By integrating the Uber Health platform into Socially Determined, payer and provider users should be able to more easily identify patients with transportation access issues, check their benefits and eligibility, and connect them with Uber rides. In healthcare, Uber rides usually help patients get to medical appointments, shop for or receive groceries, and pick up or receive prescriptions.

Transportation access is one of the top social determinants of health (SDOH) that healthcare providers address, in part because there is a tangible solution for this problem. Limited access to transportation is a serious healthcare issue, with 2023 numbers from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation showing that one in five patients skip care because they don’t have a ride.

Rideshare companies and other non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) providers have emerged to help fill this gap. Payers and providers have tapped them to help patients get rides to their appointments and to other health-related services, like the grocery store and pharmacy.

This partnership between Socially Determined and Uber Health sets out to streamline that process and make it easier for patients, providers, and payers to navigate.

“Historically, the onus has been on patients to navigate their own benefits—from figuring out what they’re eligible for, to tracking down those services, to securing reimbursement. We’re turning that model on its head,” Caitlin Donovan, global head of Uber Health, said in a statement.

“Now, plans and providers can turn to Socially Determined to gain insight into what their patients need and then leverage the Uber Health platform to coordinate access to those items and services. This enables healthcare organizations to take a more strategic, proactive, and impactful approach to patient care, driving better outcomes at scale.”

Uber Health and Socially Determined said the deal makes it easier for Uber Health’s more than 3,000 users to specifically pinpoint patients in need of medical transportation due to Socially Determined’s repository of social risk data and analytics.

The pair said this should allow payer and provider users to ensure they allocate resources to individuals with the highest need and with appropriate benefit eligibility. It should also help payers and providers meet any needs that are currently unmet—meaning it could help them flag patients who are not receiving transportation benefits they need and for which they are eligible.

“Once our payer and provider partners know who needs assistance and what specific challenges need to be addressed, they require a partner to help mitigate those risks and eliminate those barriers,” Trenor Williams, co-founder and CEO at Socially Determined, said in the press release. “Uber Health’s knowledge, approach and ubiquitous network provides the perfect partner for our analytics and allows our customers to drive measurable, improved outcomes and member experience.”

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