How to quickly fix patient transportation at your hospital or clinic

Jackson Steger
Jackson Steger
fixing transportation

If you’re a nurse navigator, social worker, or case manager, chances are that you’re frustrated with how tiresome the logistics of patient transportation can be. Your job is supposed to be to care for patients. It’s difficult to focus on patient health when so much of your energy is sapped away by the myriad of problems presented by transportation. Here are four actionable steps you can take to fix patient transportation at your hospital or clinic so you can focus on patient health:

1. Take advantage of 21st-century technology

You’ve probably heard of Uber & Lyft by now and might even use rideshare yourself. There are two notable benefits to using rideshare for patients: Rides are cheap (30-40% less expensive than taxis), and they arrive quickly. Furthermore, if you order a Lyft or Uber ride through Roundtrip, you can ensure that patient health information is protected, and the ride is HIPAA-compliant. Rides are GPS-tracked so that you know where the patient’s vehicle is at all times to ensure maximum safety.

Live somewhere rural with poor rideshare access? Want something more than a curb-to-curb service? No worries. You can still rely on a digital transportation marketplace. Taxi and medical sedan companies are always looking for higher ride volume, which is why they have joined Roundtrip’s Community. Through Roundtrip Community, different transportation companies bid on ride requests based on how fast they can show up. This way, the technology rewards the vehicle that can arrive soonest. So even without Lyft or Uber access, you’re still able to ensure rides arrive promptly. 

Whether you’re in a traffic-riddled city or a more rural setting, technology allows you to reduce patient no-shows. You can have a no-show rate of less than 3% by communicating with patients proactively. For example, we provide reminders and updates to patients about their rides and have a 24/7 Navigation Center for support. Maximizing the driver-patient connection should be your number one priority.

2. Centralize all your transportation and billing workflows into one place 

It’s inefficient and cumbersome to have to go to multiple places to order rides. While rideshare technology is great, some patients might need more than just a curb-to-curb Lyft ride. Wheelchair vans, non-emergent ambulances (BLS, ALS, CCT, etc.), medical sedans, and helicopters are just a few examples of other resources your facility may use. To top it off, you might order rides through Medicaid brokers or have your hospital-managed fleet available for higher levels of transportation. Putting all of those resources under the same ride-booking workflow will ease your headache and save you a ton of time. 

If you want to make your life even simpler, go ahead and integrate your transportation solution with your EMR. You can quickly scroll within a patient’s profile to a button that says “Book Trip” and set up a ride in just a few clicks. Boom. Easy.

3. Let somebody else deal with Medicaid brokers for you

The most fulfilling part about working at a hospital and clinic is the ability to genuinely make a difference in people’s lives through attentive care. Waiting on hold with Logisticare and other brokers is an inefficient way to make a difference. It’s NOT a good use of your time. The average ride takes 23 minutes of clinical support time to address through traditional phone-based models. However, if you outsource obtaining authorizations for transportation (of all levels) to a third-party like Roundtrip, you can voicelessly book a ride in two minutes or less. You can still check ETAs and receive ride updates electronically so that your attention stays focused on what matters.

4. Get others on board

On average, there are 6.8 people involved with deciding to use software to help alleviate problems within hospitals. Get ahead of this early by looping in folks from IT, Legal, and any other gatekeepers you foresee as being a part of this decision. If you facilitate conversations between decision-makers (both among each other and also with vendors of transportation solutions like Roundtrip), you’re encouraging open communication. When everyone has the chance to voice their priorities, you create the opportunity for win-win and win-win-win situations to occur because you’re addressing everyone’s concerns early. 

Want some more tips? Have questions before you bring in the other decision-makers? Talk to a medical transportation expert here.