Last month, ride-share giant Uber declared its intent to file an IPO with the goal of moving into healthcare services. They made it official on Thursday, May 13th.
According to Jack O’Brien, Finance Editor at HealthLeaders, this move has been much anticipated. Especially after Lyft, Inc., one of Uber’s primary competitors went public last month.
But anyone paying attention knows Uber has been moving in this direction for over a year with the launch of Uber Health in early 2018.
While future usage will in large part determine the effectiveness of Uber, the service is a taking fascinating approach to healthcare, and it’s in direct alignment with the services they’re already providing.
“Uber admits in its filing that it will be subject to "additional healthcare-related federal and state laws and regulations" as a result of going public and aiming to expand into the healthcare sphere.” –Jack O’Brien, HealthLeaders
Uber is planning to remove the access roadblock
Access has always been a roadblock in healthcare. This is especially true in our sick care system, where specialty care rules the day and referrals are doled out without a second thought.
Patients are expected to travel across town — sometimes across state lines — to get the care they need. Many don’t have the means for that kind of travel.
In that way, Uber is clearly attempting to fill an important gap by bringing accessibility and transportation to patients through their healthcare provider.
Is it real change, or more of the same?
But what about financial resources? Obviously there will always be a bill for service. Somebody is going to have to pay, but who’s responsible?
And in a system where there are more options than ever, does providing more around transportation bring clarity — or more confusion?
At Vera, while we applaud any effective healthcare innovation, our focus on primary care through an on- or near-site clinic aims to remove this need entirely. Because everything — from tests to labs, even some of what is considered specialist care — is done on-site. Many times, just down the hall (or across the street) from the patient’s workplace.
And that’s not even mentioning reining in specialty care to shore up the costs that continue to rise out of control. Healthcare driven ride-sharing could possibly make an already expensive situation that much more costly, ignoring the real, bigger problem of bloat and excess within healthcare today.