Uber Health looking to expand medical delivery services

Uber Health (UBER), a subsidy of the popular ride-sharing app, has seen growing demand for services as it continues its foray into the $4 trillion health-care industry.

Global Head of Uber Health Caitlin Donovan said there is especially growing interest in delivery services for specialized meals and medical devices. When it launched in 2018, it was primarily for patient ride services.

"We're thinking about how to choose the right partners to be able to do that at scale, because there is such a high degree of overlap between those that need a ride and those that need something delivered," Donovan told Yahoo Finance at the HLTH conference in Las Vegas this week.

The company has been slowly building out the strategy for years and is still determining the right partners to achieve the goal, Donovan said.

Beyond health-centric solutions, Uber Health is also looking to partner with other companies. For example, it recently announced services including rides to appointments for patients with employer-sponsored plans, as well as rides for nurses, particularly those who are in home health care.

"We've anecdotally heard from our customers that you can see about an extra patient a day, which helps not only serve the patient but really makes a workforce where we have a shortage much more productive as well," Donovan said.

Uber Health is stressing to companies that such services cut down on costs, with more people being seen at home or at medical facilities other than emergency rooms.

"Because just having the benefits and having the tool isn't enough," Donovan said.

"We now think about how to make that scalable for health plans by thinking about the overlapping needs of patients so we can take administrative cost out of the system, and then, candidly, structuring the benefits in a way that works for all," she said.

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