Daily Briefing

Uber Health's latest offering: Same-day prescription deliveries


Uber Health last week announced that users, including providers and health plans, can now request same-day prescription delivery through the same program they use to coordinate transportation for patients.

Uber Health now offers same-day prescription delivery

On Thursday, Uber Health announced that users can now request same-day prescription delivery from any pharmacy in their area through its HIPPA-supported, centralized healthcare platform — a move the company says will allow providers to offer comprehensive care solutions outside the site of care and improve health outcomes and patient experiences.

When Uber Health first launched in 2018, its primary focus was on streamlining non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) options for patients and providers. However, transportation is just one component of patient care delivery. For instance, when a patient is discharged from the hospital, they need transportation to their home and to follow-up appointments — but they also need a way to access new prescriptions.

Now, organizations can use the Uber Health platform to fulfill their duty of care obligations by managing direct, same-day prescription deliveries and tracking their arrival.

"So often those things that lead to the readmission is that the patient didn't have a ride to their follow-up appointment ... or that the patient had forgotten to pick up an antibiotic on the way home from the hospital," said Caitlin Donovan, the global head of Uber Health. "This empowers a care coordinator to not give their patient homework and close the loop on their behalf."

The platform is supported through a partnership with ScriptDrop, which allows users to request prescription deliveries through any pharmacy registered with the National Council for Prescription Drug Programs if it is within a covered delivery area.

"We are excited to expand our preexisting Uber relationship and work alongside the innovative healthcare arm of Uber Health," said Amanda Epp, ScriptDrop CEO. "Our two companies both strive to make healthcare more accessible to patients, no matter where they live. For that reason, we believed it was important to share our network with Uber Health and increase our collective impact."

Uber Health has also partnered with Patient Engagement Advisors (PEA), whose technology platform improves care navigation, to enhance its services by integrating with Uber Health's platform.

"At Patient Engagement Advisors, we recognize that each patient has specific needs and unique requirements spanning follow-up appointments and referrals, medications, nutrition, and a number of social determinants of health topics such as affordability and transportation," said Jeff Moreland, PEA's CEO.

"Uber Health is a strategic component of our global integration strategy, consolidating logistics delivery and community resources into one unified approach. We are thrilled to integrate new tools into our IT stack and workflows, allowing our onsite and remote teams to further automate scheduled rides and medication delivery," Moreland added. (Reed, Axios, 3/30; Uber Health news release, 3/30)


ADVISORY BOARD'S TAKE

Pharmacy's digital front door has swung open. Who will be left out in the cold?

By Chloe Bakst and Gina Lohr

Uber Health is just one player in a growing number of non-traditional healthcare companies entering the prescription drug space.  While Uber's program isn't entirely unique, its digital interface differs from the same-day delivery services community pharmacies have offered for years by putting more power in the hands of providers and health plans.

Ultimately, this new offering could improve care coordination and keep patients adherent to their drugs. It may also help plans and providers improve their Medicare Advantage star ratings for medication adherence — a benefit other same-day delivery prescription drug services may not offer.

While Uber Health's model may not be revolutionary on its own, it is part of a broader trend of tech companies using digitally enabled solutions to address barriers in the prescription drug care pathway. For example, Amazon Pharmacy, with its newly launched RxPass, and Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drugs are two other "disruptors" that are marketing directly to consumers with user-friendly digital interfaces. These also represent refreshes of existing models — cash-pay pharmacies have existed for years and pharmacy discount cards are a dime a dozen.

As digital pharmacy services continue to expand, traditional healthcare players need to find ways to adapt. The emergence of these large, non-traditional healthcare companies reflects widespread interest in more digital pharmacy services. A 2022 survey from health IT research firm KLAS found that 50% of patients were interested in having the ability to digitally request prescription refills. However, many established pharmacies and providers are already a step behind in developing tech-enabled, digitally driven pharmacy care.

How stakeholders can develop strategies for digital pharmacy services

To best position themselves for success, healthcare leaders should consider how they can partner with, invest in, or create digitally enabled pharmacy services.  

Health systems & providers

  • Evaluate the value of developing digital front door capabilities for your pharmacies, either through in-house investment or vendor partnership. Consider the value to your patients, payers, and other community partners.

Pharmacies

  • Find ways to better understand the preferences of your patient population. For example, launch a survey or add additional questions for staff to ask during patient interactions. Offerings to consider include same-day delivery, texting questions to a pharmacist, or online refill requests.   

Payers

  • Determine what metrics are needed from pharmacy partners, considering how digital pharmacy services may create new opportunities to collect and monitor patient data. For example, Uber Health integrating prescription delivery data into their system for payers.

Life sciences

  • Partner with pharmacies to expand patients' access to medications by leveraging digitally enabled delivery, tracking patient outcomes remotely, and even decentralizing clinical trial strategies.

Patients

  • Take a fresh look at your pharmacy care options to evaluate which ones provide the best value, including factors like cost, convenience, ability to connect with pharmacists, and access to digital services like app-based refill requests.

 


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