Why Uber and Lyft want to take you to the hospital

It’s no good having health care if you can’t make the appointment. For house-bound patients, the answer may increasingly come in the form of an Uber or Lyft — rather than a medical-transport van or taxi.

Both companies are pushing hard into the health care transportation space in order to add scale to their operations while helping providers improve their level of care.

Hospitals and doctors are flocking to the alternative for the same reason millions of individuals have tapped on an app to call a ride: It’s a cheap, door-to-door option you can track at a glance.

The move is one more way the ride-hailing companies, which rely on fleets of independent contractors, are cutting into established transportation routes and the businesses that have served them, an impact city residents and leaders are only beginning to understand.

Last week, Uber Health went live after an eight-month trial with 100 health care providers that tested the ride-hailing service as a way to ensure that eligible patients weren’t no-shows for appointments.

Rival Lyft on Monday built on a two-year effort to offer doctors its platform with apartnership with medical records company Allscripts that adds an estimated 7 million patients through 2,500 hospitals and 180,000 physicians.

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