The implementation at one of Circulation’s pilots — Mercy Health System — is well underway only months after the two organizations began talks. “The concept was immediately embraced,” says Gary Zimmer, MD, senior vice president and CEO of Mercy Health System’s clinically integrated network. “From our perspective, we’re just starting,” says Dr. Brownstein.
Earlier this fall, the “Uberization” of healthcare became a reality when the San Francisco-based startup took a big step into the world of healthcare. On Sept. 27, Uber officially partnered with Boston-based startup Circulation to help non-emergency medical patients get to their appointments on time.
Now Uber’s preferred healthcare platform, Circulation launched with the goal of solving a “fairly straightforward issue,” according to Circulation Cofounder John Brownstein, PhD.
“Transportation is a $6 billion cost in the healthcare system, and 4.5 million patients are late for appointments due to transportation problems,” says Dr. Brownstein, who’s also a healthcare advisor to Uber, professor at Boston-based Harvard Medical School and chief innovation officer at Boston Children’s Hospital.
Studies have shown transportation issues affect healthcare for as little as 3 percent of the population in certain areas, but up to 67 percent in others. What’s more, even the type of transportation taken can affect the likelihood of a patient arriving on time or at all. A 2012 study of low-income patients in New York City showed patients who rode a bus to the physician’s office were twice as likely to miss appointments as patients who drove cars, for instance.