How to Maintain an Efficient and Reliable Transportation Network

Matt Koslosky
Medical Vehicle

Managing non-emergent medical transportation (NEMT) is hard. Any health system employee that’s responsible for managing the organization’s NEMT network has an uphill battle. Not only do you need to juggle the fluctuating supply of NEMT service providers, but you have to deal with evolving patient needs. Delays in organizing transportation for a patient can cause a bottleneck in bed flow, straining staff resources and hindering patients’ access to timely care. To manage these challenges, it’s imperative to cultivate a robust transportation network with multiple NEMT providers covering a variety or regions and specialties. Is it hard? Yes. Is it impossible? No. If you are part of a health system seeking to maintain a strong and reliable transportation network, here are a few valuable tips and tricks. 

Define Your Transportation Goals

It is essential to clearly outline your transportation objectives. Consider the following goals: 

  • Reducing length of stay for discharges to post-acute and skilled nursing facilities
  • Better managing health system bed capacity with efficient interfacility transport 
  • Obtaining the most efficient estimated time of arrivals (ETAs) from drivers 
  • Fulfilling every ride request received 
  • Ensuring NEMT providers can reach patients in rural areas 
  • Gaining visibility into the entire transportation process, from driver en-route to successful drop-off 

Create Measurable Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Thinking about the goals outlined above, you can target KPIs that help your organization measure the success of your transportation network. For example: 

  • Reducing X delayed discharges and unnecessary overnight stays 
  • Targeting an average NEMT provider ETA of X minutes 
  • Aiming for an X% ride request fulfillment rate 
  • Seeking NEMT providers that serve X counties 
  • Increase on time performance by X minutes 

Engage with Transportation Vendors Directly

Simply contracting with an NEMT provider is not enough. Reach out and communicate directly with various providers to build rapport. Some providers may offer better coverage during certain times of the day while others may excel in specific regions. Perhaps one offers a certain vehicle type, but only for a predetermined timeslot in the day. Establishing direct communication allows you to set appropriate expectations and select the right providers to fit your needs. 

Continuously Assess Performance

Once you have established a reliable transportation network, it is crucial to regularly evaluate its performance. Utilize analytics to identify any inefficiencies within the network that need addressing. For instance, you may discover that there is a lower ride fulfillment rate at one of your outpatient offices. Upon investigation, you might learn that the primary NEMT vendor that was providing rides has gone out of business—a common occurrence in the volatile NEMT market. In such case, it becomes necessary to seek alternative NEMT providers to fill the void.  

Some NEMT providers have a computer-aided dispatch (CAD) software such as Zoll RescueNet, TraumaSoft or Logis. For those providers that have this software, you can request data on driver responsiveness, timeliness, availability of crews, and more. CAD systems track various metrics, such as the time of arrival to drop-off at their end destination, enabling you to measure the efficiency and reliability of their transportation services.

Partner with Roundtrip to complete the picture 

Working with an NEMT provider that utilizes a CAD software provides data only once a ride request has been accepted. By partnering with Roundtrip, you gain access to the whole picture of your patients’ transportation journey. Our system integrates directly with a provider’s CAD, allowing you to track and monitor the entire process from the moment a patient is ready to be discharged, to the point they are dropped off at their destination.  

Ultimately, managing a network of NEMT providers in-house can be challenging and time consuming, but having the data to measure performance and the team to engage with providers can make a huge difference. At Roundtrip, we specialize in building and maintaining robust transportation networks, connecting NEMT companies with health systems, and we offer integrations to CAD systems with our ride ordering portal for a seamless transportation workflow.