Uber has launched Uber Health in Australia and Tego Insurance wants healthcare providers, specialists and medical practices to know the potential risks and benefits

Uber Health in Australia is a new non-emergency patient transport service. It allows health practitioners and organisations to schedule, manage and pay for rides for their patients, caregivers and staff to and from their hospital, clinic, or health service. Australia will be the first market outside of the US to trial the new platform.

Uber Health describes itself as a technology solution for healthcare organisations that leverages the ride hailing power of the Uber platform. The web-based dashboard allows hospitals and other healthcare professionals to request, manage, and pay for non-emergency rides for others, at scale. Healthcare organisations are using Uber Health to help get people to and from the care they need, and to get staff to and from work.”

UberHealth’s Potential Benefits

Uber Health is designed to improve patient accessibility to healthcare and address inefficiencies and monetary losses arising from missed appointments. Although access to healthcare appointments in Australia is mostly free, the reality is that the cost of healthcare is incurred by Australian taxpayers. Missed medical appointments are placing an increased strain on the country’s healthcare system, both in terms of financial and resourcing constraints.

Uber Health attempts to address these issues whilst capitalising on the need for patient transportation. There is no requirement for patients to download the Uber app or to even have a mobile phone or credit card – alerts are sent via text message or landline calls with details of the ride provided in more than 20 languages.

Further, health service providers can schedule rides on behalf of patients, caregivers, and staff to take place immediately, within a few hours, or up to 30 days in advance which allows for transportation to be scheduled for follow-up appointments while still at the healthcare facility.

The Risks

“The Uber Health dashboard was specifically designed with healthcare companies in mind, so you can safeguard your patients’ information from start to finish … No medical data is stored on the Uber Health platform … We’ve worked with health industry experts to build a robust platform with patient privacy front and centre of this service. We have numerous safeguards in place to protect patient health information, including preventing the collection of any health information that is unrelated to the request of a trip. Ride information is encrypted, and for drivers the trip is no different from a normal Uber trip, to ensure patient privacy is upheld to the highest standard.”

Tips to Manage Potential Risks

Here are some tips for Health Practitioners and Health Service Providers to manage the risks of Uber Health-

  1. Before using Uber Health be sure you understand your patient’s health condition/s and what treatment will be required. This will determine if Uber Health is an appropriate and safe transportation method for your patient.
  2. If a patient has a serious/ life-threatening issue, an ambulance might be a safer method of patient transportation.
  3. Be sure you never disclose your patients’ health information to Uber Health without appropriate authorisation to do so.
  4. If you are still in doubt about the appropriateness of Uber Health for a patient, see if you can get advice from someone who has used their services before.

Tego want you to know the risks

While there are some potential benefits to Uber Health’s new non-emergency patient transportation service, we are not sure the issues relating to patient privacy and medical risk will be real challenges for Healthcare and Medical Practitioners.

As Australian medical indemnity insurance providers, we understand the intricacies and risks involved in patient- doctor relationships. We are experts in medical indemnity insurance, medical malpractice insurance, doctors indemnity insurance, gp medical indemnity insurance, medical practice insurance, and more. If you are a health practitioner with Tego, we offer 24/7 medico-legal advice and support in regards to what you need to know about the risks invoiced with receiving a gift from a patient.

The recommendations contained in this publication must exercise their own independent skill or judgment or seek appropriate professional advice relevant to their own particular practice. Compliance with any recommendations will not in any way guarantee discharge of the duty of care owed to patients and others coming into contact with the health professional or practice. Tego Insurance Pty Ltd is not responsible to you or anyone else for any loss suffered in connection with the use of this information.

All content on this page has been written in a generic way, and has not been presented with any knowledge of your personal objectives or financial needs.