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Uber Starts Offering Rides to Doctors

Uber will bill care providers who sign up for the service monthly based on their usage

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Uber partners with DMRC for kiosks in 50 stations by H1 2019. VOA

Uber is driving deeper into healthcare by offering to take patients in every U.S. market where it operates to their next medical appointment.

The ride-hailing service said Thursday its Uber Health business will handle rides set up by doctor’s offices or other healthcare providers and then bill that business, not the patient, for the service. The company said rides can be set up within a few hours or days in advance. Patients won’t need access to a smartphone to use the service.

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Uber began testing the service last summer. More than 100 health care providers have signed up including hospitals, clinics, and physical therapy centers. Pixabay

Company leaders said they are expanding because there’s a need. They cite federal government research that estimates that more than 3 million people do not obtain medical care due to transportation problems.

“There are a lot of people out there who are not going to the doctor simply because they can’t physically make it there,” said Uber Health executive Jay Holley.

He added that the service also represents a business opportunity for Uber by connecting the company with a lot of first-time users.

Uber will bill care providers who sign up for the service monthly based on their usage. Holley said some may pass the cost on to their customers, but most of the providers it has worked with so far pay for the rides out of their operating budget.

ALSO READ: Driverless Car: Popular App-based cab Uber gives us a look of what Future Holds!

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Health insurers and others have long recognized the need to help some patients, especially those with low incomes, make their medical appointments. Pexels

Uber rival Lyft offers a similar service called Concierge, which allows healthcare providers to set up rides for patients to get to appointments. The providers pay for the rides. Lyft also has patient transport partnerships with larger healthcare providers.

Molina Healthcare Inc. has offered a transportation benefit to its customers for around 25 years and says that more than 3 million people are eligible. Molina specializes in administering the state- and federally funded Medicaid programs for poor people and the disabled.

Spokeswoman Laura Murray said the insurer found that covering transportation expenses helps patients keep regular appointments and preventive care visits, which can include things like flu shots or checkups. She said that can improve patient health and cut down on unnecessary emergency room visits.

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“Uber is already where the patient lives,”

ALSO READ: Uber suspends its self-driving cars from Roads after crash in US

Adams Clinical runs clinical trials for drug companies and started using Uber Health in the middle of last year. Since then, trial participation has grown and patients have started staying in the studies longer, CEO Nelson Rutrick said.

The Watertown, Massachusetts, company had used taxis before switching to Uber. Rutrick said taxis were more expensive and required advance planning to get a cab to drive an hour or two to pick someone up.

“Uber is already where the patient lives,” he said. (VOA)

Next Story

New Medicine That Could Replace Insulin Injections

The tip of the needle is made of nearly 100 per cent compressed, freeze-dried insulin. 

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The tip of the needle is made of nearly 100 per cent compressed, freeze-dried insulin. Pixabay

Researchers have developed a drug capsule that could be used to deliver oral doses of insulin, potentially replacing injections for patients with Type-2 diabetes, says a new study.

About the size of a blueberry, the capsule contains a single and small needle made of compressed insulin, which is injected after the capsule reaches the stomach.

The study showed that the capsule could deliver enough insulin to lower blood sugar to levels comparable to those produced by injections given through skin. They also demonstrated that the device can be adapted to deliver other protein drugs.

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About the size of a blueberry, the capsule contains a single and small needle made of compressed insulin, which is injected after the capsule reaches the stomach. VOA

“We are really hopeful that this new type of capsule could someday help diabetic patients and perhaps anyone who requires therapies that can now only be given by injection or infusion,” said Robert Langer, Professor at the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research in Britain.

The tip of the needle is made of nearly 100 per cent compressed, freeze-dried insulin.

When the capsule is swallowed, water in the stomach dissolves the sugar disk, releasing the spring and injecting the needle into the stomach wall.

The stomach wall has no pain receptors, so the patients would not be able to feel the prick of the injection. To ensure that the drug is injected into the stomach wall, the researchers designed their system so that no matter how the capsule lands in the stomach, it can orient itself so the needle is in contact with the lining of the stomach.

The findings, published in the journal Science, showed that the researchers could successfully deliver up to 300 micrograms of insulin.

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The type of drug delivery could be useful for any protein drug that normally has to be injected, such as immunosuppressants used to treat rheumatoid arthritis or inflammatory bowel disease and may also work for nucleic acids such as DNA and RNA, according to the researchers. Pixabay

More recently, they have been able to increase the dose to 5 milligrams, which is comparable to the amount that a patient with Type-2 diabetes would need to inject.

Also Read: A New Hope for Acute Liver Failure Patients

Furthermore, no adverse effects from the capsule was found, which is made from biodegradable polymer and stainless steel components.

Importantly, this type of drug delivery could be useful for any protein drug that normally has to be injected, such as immunosuppressants used to treat rheumatoid arthritis or inflammatory bowel disease and may also work for nucleic acids such as DNA and RNA, according to the researchers. (IANS)