Patients who miss appointments with their primary care physicians may shrug it off as not that big a deal. According to a much-quoted 2017 report by SCI Solutions, however, the estimated aggregate annual cost of those blown appointments adds up to $150 billion. SCI arrived at the cost figure by valuing unused physician time slots at $200 each and multiplying that figure by the number of no-shows, which ranges from 5% to 30% nationwide. According to Dan Trigub, the head of Uber Health, each year 3.6 million Americans don’t show up to the doctor’s office because they do not have access to reliable transportation.

Uber Health recently partnered with Solve.Care, an Estonian-based healthcare platform that uses blockchain to “redefine how healthcare is accessed, managed, delivered, and paid for.” Solve.Care’s Care.Wallet is a personal healthcare coordination and administration app based on blockchain. Patients of healthcare providers that use the Care.Wallet app can arrange Uber rides to approved, pre-scheduled appointments within the app. Uber Health’s patient transportation program is HIPAA-compliant, according to the company. Patients do not need to use the standard Uber app. All payments come directly from the Care.Wallet. The partnership goal is to make it easier for patients to get to and from non-emergency medical appointments and to reduce the number of no-shows.

In 2018 we wrote about a partnership between Allscripts and Lyft also established to facilitate patient transportation for healthcare appointments. Focus on helping people who would otherwise find it difficult to get to medical appointments serves not just the patients, but also the entire healthcare industry by reducing the cost of missed appointments.