With health care costs growing, some doctors and hospitals are turning to self-delivery options like Uber and other ride-hailing apps to bring in new patients.
The Wall St. Journal recently reported that the number of physicians using Uber in the past year rose by 35%, from 1,865 in April to 3,988 in October.
Some of those doctors and their providers are now offering Uber for doctors to bring patients into their offices.
The Journal reported that many of the doctors and providers are not required to do so.
The use of Uber has soared in recent months, thanks to a boom in the popularity of the ride-sharing services.
The rise in the number, though, has come at a cost for doctors, who are struggling to keep up with the demand for care.
One of the providers of the new program, Dr. Mark Zell, a cardiologist at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City, said he doesn’t anticipate a huge amount of demand for the program, but is optimistic about its popularity.
Zell said doctors and other providers are also looking for ways to cut costs, including using less expensive, non-Uber-branded medications or other forms of self-pay.
The Uber for Doctors program will allow physicians to accept the ride of up to three patients per appointment.
Zett said that his goal is to cut out the middle man and provide a convenient way to bring more patients into the office.
Doctors, he said, are also concerned that some of the patients they bring in may not be eligible for other forms, like hospitalization or Medicare benefits.
The program’s primary benefit, Zell told The Journal, is that it will help bring patients to the office for less money.
The hospital’s chief medical officer, Dr., Andrew Parekh, said in a statement that it’s important to offer a convenient option for doctors when patients need urgent care.
He said he is encouraged by the number and growth of patients who have already taken advantage of the program.
“It’s really important for us to understand the importance of the Uber for docs program, and the fact that we are able to offer this option to our patients, particularly to our more than 700,000 members who are eligible,” Parek said.