Sizing your Patient Transportation Needs and How you can Start Solving Them

Zack Worsham

In a paper published by the AHA, there is a quote that says “health and well-being are inextricably linked to the social and economic conditions in which people live. Research has shown that only 20% of health can be attributed to medical care, while social and economic factors—like access to healthy food, housing status, educational attainment and access to transportation—account for 40%.” This statistic highlights that the ability to get to a medical appointment is more impactful on someone’s health than the appointment itself.

woman in wheelchair illustration

The folks we talk to from healthcare organizations almost always know that transportation is a barrier. But what they often don’t know is the exact numbers, data, and measurable impact of the problem itself. Some of the common feedback we hear includes: 

  1. “We know our patients have transportation barriers but we’re not sure where to start, and with which patients.
  2. “We’ve been collecting information around no-shows, overhead costs, employee and patient satisfaction. We think transportation could help solve some bigger needs at our organization but we don’t know where to begin.”

If you find yourself in the first category, you can begin by gathering data to determine what questions you can ask your patients to gain better insight into how transportation may be a barrier. 

  • What available modes of transportation are there in your service area? 
  • How are your patients currently getting to care?
  • Is the hospital or clinic within proximity to public transit? 
  • Do you have rural health transportation challenges?
  • What are the reasons for why patients may miss an appointment?

Here is a patient transportation needs survey that can help you determine your patients’ greatest transportation barriers

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Answering these questions informs the scope of the transportation barrier that your patients may be experiencing. Social determinants of health (SDOH) are interrelated, so if your patients are experiencing a transportation barrier, they are likely experiencing health inequity with other SDOH. Gathering this information may be helpful when deciding to offer transportation as a benefit as part of an SDOH or care management program for at-risk patient populations.

If you find yourself in the second category, you can begin by considering some of the data that you already have on hand. 

  • What is your current baseline spending on transportation? 
  • Have you considered incorporating rideshare instead of a taxi service? Switching to rideshare can help save you 30% on transportation costs every year. 
  • What are your current ride volumes for inpatient and outpatient populations? 
  • What is your current no-show rate for appointments?

Ultimately, gathering this data will help give you a full picture of the current state of transportation for your organization, helping you identify fraud, waste, and inefficiency. You can also take this data and use it to inform your potential ROI by using Roundtrip. We do this all the time for prospects who want to share the cost savings potential with their leadership teams.

If you’d like us to start building an ROI report with you, please fill out this form here. 

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