Hitching a Ride to Your Health Care Provider

Here’s a great example of a startup that is solving a problem and helping its clients make more money, while improving health care.

Minneapolis-based Hitch Health, a healthcare technology company focused on innovative ways to improve patient health, and Lyft, the fastest growing ride-share company in the U.S., today released results of a year-long non-emergency medical transportation pilot demonstrating a significant decline in patient no-shows and increased revenue at the first clinic to employ the transportation technology solution for a full year.

The pilot program at the Hennepin Healthcare internal medicine clinic in downtown Minneapolis employed Hitch Health’s proprietary, automated technology to offer Lyft rides via SMS text to patients-in-need who had previously missed medical appointments.

Key findings of the 12-month pilot period at the Hennepin Healthcare internal medicine clinic include:

  • A 27 percent reduction of the clinic no-show rate – from 31 percent to 22.5 percent
  • Estimated increase in medicine clinic revenue: $270,000
  • Estimated return on investment (ROI): 297 percent

When a patient does not show up for an appointment, the clinic loses money – an average of $100 for each scheduled visit. When the patient accepts a ride from Hitch Health – Lyft to/from the appointment, the clinic typically pays less than $15 each way – netting more than $70 – a win for the clinic and the patient.

Even more important than the ROI is the immediate upstream shift of care from emergency rooms to ambulatory clinics. Hitch Health is focused on shifting medical care to health care, according to Hitch Health co-founder Susan Jepson.

Nationally, 25 percent of patients who do not show up for a clinic or doctor’s office appointment site transportation as the reason.1Over three and a half million Americans can’t get the care they need because they don’t have the transportation to or from the doctors’ office.

Hitch Health is the only non-emergency healthcare transportation company with this proprietary technology that securely connects to healthcare providers’ electronic health records to identify patients who may benefit from a free, convenient ride to and from a clinic, hospital or doctor’s office.

The software’s flexibility allows health systems to customize ride offers through filters. Based on those filters, ride offers are generated through an SMS text and matched with the appointment. This high-tech solution means there is no need for the patient or clinic staff to schedule the rides. Hitch Health also automates the return ride. When the patient is ready to go home, s/he just texts “ready.”

The findings from the 12-month pilot also show patients enjoy and appreciate the service. Those who participated in the year-long program ranked the experience 9.7/10 in terms of customer satisfaction.