Ride Sharing May Improve Patient Access to Pharmacies
Services such as Uber and Lyft that help get patients to their medical appointments could also bring patients to their pharmacies.
Who knew that ride sharing platforms would move beyond just being a service to order in the city on a night out. If you had told me 5 years ago that Uber, and Lyft would get into the health field as a full-on service supported by insurance companies, hospitals, and pharmacy companies, I wouldn't believe it. But, here we are.
So what's new in the ride sharing world since I last wrote about Uber and Lyft looking to get patients to their medical appointments? Well, how about getting patients to their pharmacies?
Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) is creating a new company division called the Blue Cross Blue Shield Institute that, as part of their service, will provide free rides for patients using Lyft.1 Now, these rides only include those to either Walgreens or CVS pharmacies, at the current time, and will just be available in several locations. Likely, these will be urban areas, and the free rides are unlikely to spread to rural sites for some time.
This isn't necessarily a new idea from BCBS, as they have partnered with Lyft in the past to provide free rides for their members to doctors’ offices, and other health appointments. In May of 2017, BCBS announced that they wanted to help patients with transportation in so-called “transportation deserts,” as they recognized that some local communities struggle with providing such services.