RIDE-HAILING IN HEALTHCARE: Uber and Lyft are aiming to solve the $150 billion annual problem of US medical transport — here’s why automakers should enter the fray (UBER, LYFT)


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Uber IPO Dara KhosrowshahiThe healthcare industry has been notoriously resistant to change, but its transformation at the hands of digitization has recently picked up pace. With that shift, nontraditional players are starting to see new openings to establish a presence in the lucrative industry. One area where these firms are stepping in is transportation.

Access to affordable and convenient transportation heavily impacts public health — transportation issues cost the US health system around $150 billion annually — so improving the process for patients has become more of a priority for the healthcare industry. Tech-facing mobility companies like Uber and Lyft have seen this as an opportunity to leverage their reach and advanced technical capabilities to help get patients to appointments and, in turn, tap into a multibillion-dollar nonemergency medical transport (NEMT) market. 

However, the opportunity in healthcare transportation isn’t limited to new mobility challengers. Legacy automakers should also consider entering the space as they continue their shift toward service-based business models in response to global declines in auto ownership. One company that’s already doing this is Detroit-based Ford Motors, which introduced an on-demand NEMT service, dubbed GoRide, in 2018. GoRide provides patients with rides using its fleet of wheelchair-accessible vans.

But entering a space as complicated and heavily regulated as healthcare doesn’t come without challenges. To take full advantage of the lucrative industry, transportation firms will have to navigate the complex regulatory landscape, make patient privacy a top priority, and meet a wide array of patient needs, such as having to travel with a wheelchair. 

In this report, Business Insider Intelligence discusses the forces that are opening opportunities for transportation companies in healthcare, the value that can be gained from entering the space, and what hurdles they must overcome to become go-to service providers. We look at interviews with executives at Lyft, Uber, and Ford to unpack their companies’ services, identify best practices, and determine what opportunities may lie ahead. 

The companies mentioned in this report are: Advocate Health Care, American Logistics Corporation, Blue Cross Blue Shield Institute, CareMore, Change Healthcare, Ford, General Motors, Lyft, MedStar Health, and Uber.

Here are some key takeaways from the report:

  • Transportation issues cost the US health system around $150 billion annually.
  • Dan Trigub, head of Uber Health and former regional VP of healthcare partnerships at Lyft, believes that this is a $15 billion opportunity, annually. 
  • Over the last three years, both Uber and Lyft introduced NEMT services that have quickly helped the mobility companies entrench themselves in the healthcare industry. Both services are business-to-business (B2B), meaning Uber and Lyft are partnering with payers, providers, and NEMT brokers that are then setting up rides for patients. 
  • Legacy automakers would be wise to move quickly on the opportunity in order to fortify their revenue streams in the wake of slowing auto sales. US auto sales in 2019 are expected to be just shy of 16.9 million, marking the first year since 2014 that they would fail to hit 17 million, per Automotive News. 

In full, the report:

  • Explains why the healthcare industry is opening its doors to nontraditional transportation providers.
  • Discusses how mobility companies can best take advantage of the multibillion-dollar opportunity. 
  • Details the different strategies Lyft, Uber, and Ford have taken to launch successful NEMT services. 
  • Identifies other opportunities for mobility companies in the healthcare space. 

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