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Uber Health Expands to OTC and Grocery Delivery Services

With a shifting focus to 'food as medicine,’ Uber's healthcare arm aims to improve patient care access by offering over-the-counter drug and grocery delivery services to patients' homes.

Uber Health, the rideshare company's healthcare arm, has broadened its service capabilities by launching grocery and over-the-counter pharmacy product delivery services to break down patient care access barriers.

Uber Health, which officially launched in 2017, said it recognizes that delivery services are essential for homebound patients and those with limited transportation.

A lack of transportation, a significant social determinant of health (SDOH), prevents around 3.6 million patients from attending their medical appointments annually, Uber Health said in the press release. This deficit doesn't just affect healthcare access, but it also contributes to food insecurity, as individuals struggling with transportation may not easily access grocery stores or pharmacies.

This new announcement expands Uber Health’s already established non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) and prescription delivery services. Already, 3,000 healthcare organizations are leveraging Uber Health for transportation and prescription access, the company shared.

Heath systems and other healthcare organizations can now utilize Uber Health for various services, from facilitating transportation to primary care appointments to delivering prescription medications and healthy food to their front doors. This service is scheduled to be launched for the benefit year of 2024.

“Our platform streamlines coordination across multiple benefits—non-emergency medical transportation, prescription delivery, and food and over-the-counter medication delivery, empowering payers and providers to support patients beyond the four walls of a medical office,” Caitlin Donovan, global head of Uber Health, said in a press release.

“And, because our platform is built on the largest mobility network in the world, we’re uniquely capable of meeting these needs and unlocking the potential of value-based care at scale.”

The move reflects a growing trend in healthcare that underscores the role of nutrition as a fundamental pillar of health, a concept known as “food as medicine.”

This move toward provider-chosen grocery food delivery aligns with the healthcare industry's growing focus on food as medicine, reflecting the increasing support for food-based health interventions at federal, state, and private levels.

The concept of food as medicine underscores the role of nutrition as a fundamental pillar of healthcare to prevent, manage, and treat diet-related diseases through nutritional interventions.

Concepts like produce prescription programs have the potential to make a significant impact on public health by increasing the availability of nutritious food options for vulnerable population

As these programs gain popularity, Uber Health’s expanded services become a significant asset for healthcare organizations aiming to improve patient outcomes and experiences, particularly those homebound or in a food desert.

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