Courier Post: Cooper rolls out app to ease transportation headaches for patients

Need a Lyft to your medical appointment? That’s now an option for patients at Cooper University Hospital and MD Anderson at Cooper.

The two healthcare facilities are using a new tool that promises to make it easier for patients to get a ride for non-emergency medical appointments. To cut ride-ordering time from an average 20 minutes to less than 90 seconds per patient, the Camden hospital and its neighboring cancer center use an app developed by RoundTrip, a Philadelphia-based company. The company’s software allows providers to request a ride from the transportation company preferred by a patient’s insurance provider.

Additionally, RoundTrip recently partnered with the ridesharing company, Lyft, to order rides for patients who don’t have health insurance or whose provider doesn’t cover rides. Lyft is available only for patients who don’t need medical assistance along the way.

Christine Winn, senior vice president of MD Anderson Cooper Cancer Institute and physician alignment, said reliable transportation is “one less thing a patient needs to worry about as they focus on their health.”

Sometimes, there can be delays before the transportation service arrives, Winn noted. Lyft won’t replace transportation services provided by TRICARE for active and retired military, or by Medicaid for patients unable to afford their own transportation. But it offers patients another option.

“Having different options available increases patient satisfaction,” Winn said, through a Cooper spokeswoman.

RoundTrip promises to improve service for everyone, however, by providing accurate data to transportation providers and gathering customer feedback. Each ride is rated for quality, said Mark Switaj, RoundTrip’s CEO. Additionally, patients are reminded about their ride appointments through text messages.

RoundTrip charges the facility a flat booking fee for each ride. The company is working to partner with other healthcare providers in South Jersey.

“We are sharing near-perfect data with the provider,” said Switaj. “You wouldn’t believe how much gets messed up in the telephone game of picking up the phone and calling different transportation companies. Just by making it a digital platform, we’re able to improve the communication of good data to the transportation agency.”

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