I Just Took an Uber Ride. To Health.

First published by founder Sam Johnson on Linkedin.

The day started like most others. A shower, cup of coffee, and my morning walk around the neighborhood block on this uncommonly mild mid-November day.

Somewhere along the way, I began to experience some slight dizziness. Then a headache set in, and my vision began to blur a bit. This wasn’t a new experience for me, but the last time it happened, I ignored it for a few days and ended up in the emergency room after a grocery store employee found me sitting on the floor near the baking aisle. The store manager called an ambulance, and although I objected, they did the right thing, and I was transported for care.

Today, I made it home from my walk, sat down in my easy chair, and rested a while before calling my primary care provider from the phone I keep on the end table. Feeling better by this time, I explained to the nurse that I had experienced “those same symptoms again” and asked her what I should do. She asked a few more questions before suggesting that I come in to see them. She also expressed concern that I probably didn’t need to drive myself, and asked if anyone was available to bring me over. I responded, “No… no I don’t have anyone here today.” My daughter is usually more than happy to accommodate my regular doctor visits, and we enjoy the chance to be together, but she was traveling out of state, and I knew she wouldn’t be available.

The nurse on the other end of the phone said, “If you would like, we can have an Uber car pick you up. Would that be alright?” I gladly agreed.

Now, although the above scenario is fiction, it is based on a common situation. Here’s the part that really did happen today, and it’s rather exciting:

I stepped outside of my office in Franklin, Tenn., to await the arrival of a white Hyundai Elantra that had been ordered for me by my “medical team” (aka our technical staff) a little under 100 miles away. They were performing a test to prove if our new RideToHealth platform could deliver me to the Williamson Medical Center campus via the Uber network, and later pick me up from my imaginary doctor visit without disclosing any HIPAA-protected information. Four minutes later, a car arrived and Benjamin welcomed me and another RELATIENT team member into his vehicle. I already had received a text message on my phone with details of the ride, and a link to track the progress online. The medical team could see the same information.

Just six minutes later, I was safely delivered to the front door of the Physician’s Plaza building, where dozens of healthcare professionals provide care on a daily basis here in Williamson County. Before we pulled in, I took just a minute to explain to the Uber driver that he was “part of history” today, and that he had just completed the first successful RideToHealth trip that was ordered and completed without any app interaction by me (the passenger/patient). Benjamin seemed delighted.

On the return ride, in a black Dodge Caliber, I inquired with the Uber driver about his willingness to help riders to the car if they were elderly, and about his knowledge of HIPAA privacy. As I expected, the driver was “more than happy to help” and to respect any passenger’s rights to privacy.

RELATIENT will launch its RideToHealth platform for use by healthcare professionals and transportation managers on December 1, 2016, and if today is any indication, many patients will be provided greater access to healthcare, and a safe enjoyable ride, to health.

Here’s to you, and yours!

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