Lyft, Hitch Health, Roundtrip deals bearing fruit for systems seeking non-emergency medical transport

By Dave Muoio
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Rideshare services have been making their name in the non-emergency medical transport (NEMT) industry, and it seems as if the partnerships health organizations are making with these companies are paying off.

This week, NEMT technology company Hitch Health and Lyft announced the results of a year-long pilot partnership that suggest the joint service was responsible for a 27 percent reduction in clinic no-shows as well as an increase in revenue for an internal medicine clinic in downtown Minneapolis. Similarly, Roundtrip — another NEMT scheduling service partnered with Lyft — recently revealed that the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Camden, New Jersey was able to reduce direct transportation costs by 30 percent with the service and cut its no-show rate down to four percent.

“Earlier this year Lyft made a commitment to reduce the healthcare transportation gap by 50 percent by 2020,” Gyre Renwick, vice president of Lyft Business, said in a statement regarding the pilot program with Hitch. “We’re excited by these early pilot results, which demonstrate that strategic partnerships in healthcare can have a significant impact on patients’ lives.

Hitch’s software platform connects with a provider’s EHR system to identify patients who could benefit from NEMT, and includes filters to allow a provider to customize their ride offers. From here, the platform automatically texts patients with a ride offer matched to their appointments, and coordinates a return ride home as soon as the patient texts “ready.”

The Hitch-Lyft pilot was conducted at the Hennepin Healthcare internal medicine clinic in Minneapolis over a 12-month period. During this time, the clinic’s no-show rate dropped from 31 percent to 22.5 percent, according to the companies, with patients who participated in the program reporting high rates (9.7 out of 10) of customer satisfaction. The service also led to an estimated increase in revenue of $270,000 by minimizing the expense hit from missed appointments, leading to an estimated ROI of 297 percent for the clinic.

“Even more important than the ROI is the immediate upstream shift of care from emergency rooms to ambulatory clinics,” Susan Jepson, cofounder of Hitch Health, said in a statement. “Hitch Health is focused on shifting medical care to health care. Ultimately, these results demonstrate the far-reaching implications Hitch Health can have on communities nationwide.”

As of January 2017, Roundtrip’s backend tool has allowed MD Anderson social workers to schedule on-demand transportation provided by the rideshare company. The process is conducted through a single platform, allows workers to text patients a reminder message prior to their ride, and normally requires 60 to 90 seconds to schedule, according to the company.

Among eight MD Anderson social workers and case managers booking recurring rides for more than 75 patients, the NEMT service led to an employee time savings of over $44,500, according to a statement. Average per ride costs also decreased by more than seven percent with the service, and by cutting down the no-show rate to four percent, the center saved another $22,000 through the same time frame.

“As part of our mission to serve, to heal and to educate, our goal is to provide the highest level of care with the best patient experience,” Christine Winn, SVP at MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper, said in a statement. “Often times, patients may have difficulty finding rides after they’ve been discharged from the hospital or following cancer treatments. … [Reliable transportation] is one less thing a patient needs to worry about as they focus on their health.”

Rideshare providers like Lyft have made a staggering number of deals with NEMT coordination services, health systems, and payers over the past few years, and a handful of these have released attendance and cost savings results similar to those announced this week by Hitch and Roundtrip.