Uber calls on the first chief medical officer to develop its health branch

Uber is pooling more resources in its growing healthcare arm with the hiring of its first chief medical officer.

Michael Cantor, MD, holds the position at Uber Health with more than 20 years of experience as a geriatrician and healthcare executive.

These years, along with the time he spent helping his elderly mother meet her health needs, will help the team in their mission to close the care gaps faced by the elderly and the elderly. vulnerable populations.

“It’s really a huge opportunity to fill in the gaps that I’ve been really frustrated with and struggled with as a clinician, as a health plan leader, as a clinical leader and also as a son,” he told Fierce Healthcare. “This is an opportunity to meet needs that you know exist with technology that is flexible, scalable and in many cases less expensive.

As the first physician to join Uber Health’s leadership team, Cantor brings critical clinical knowledge that can help the company better meet the needs of provider partners and patients, according to Caitlin Donovan, global head of healthcare. health at Uber Health.

“What we’ve consistently heard from our customers is that they’re currently using us as a point solution and thinking about ways to make that scalable,” she told Fierce Healthcare. “To do that, you need clinical expertise.”

Uber Health offers a dashboard and API solution to the healthcare organizations it works with that can be used as a standalone product or integrated into an existing clinical workflow. These tools help patients get to and from medical appointments with notes about a patient’s specific needs given to the driver by their care coordinator.

Cantor’s clinical knowledge allows him to speak the same language as the providers Uber works with, ensuring the company’s solution can meet the needs of every healthcare organization, regardless of the type of care the organization offers. .

“The beauty of it is that you can actually allow each of these teams to define what they need, and the technology is flexible enough that they can get it,” he said.

Millions of people miss or delay care in the United States each year due to lack of transportation. The problem is exacerbated among those who rely on public transit, including the elderly, black and Hispanic communities, and populations of low socioeconomic status.

Uber Health was launched in 2018 to expand access to healthcare in these communities through non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) services.

Ride-sharing giant Lyft’s biggest competitor has also dabbled in healthcare with its own company NEMT, which was founded two years before Uber Health with a similar model allowing patients to schedule rides to their appointments. medical care at the expense of the health organization.

RELATED: Lyft Gets New Healthcare Chief to Lead Expansion of Non-Emergency Medical Transportation

Cantor said her mother relies on ride-sharing, prescription delivery and other secondary services to receive care — and Uber “helps tie the system together.”

“What we recognize in the health system is that health is more than diagnosis and treatment. It’s about broader things like housing, transportation, being part of a community,” Cantor said.

Uber Health has entered into several partnerships over the past year to realize its vision of delivering holistic care.

Just last week, the company announced a collaboration with CVS Health to provide free transportation to medical care, work, or education for high-risk populations in three major cities.

RELATED: CVS Health and Uber Health Partner for Free Medical Transportation to Reduce Barriers to Care

Uber also ramped up its prescription delivery business by partnering with ScriptDrop last March and signed a deal with Papa in October to make it easier to transport seniors to medical appointments and community events.

Donovan said the unit expects to announce more partnerships in the future to continue to expand its offerings with the central goal of improving access to care.

“For me, it’s all about creating the ecosystem that allows experts from each of these verticals to come together seamlessly to deliver this holistic experience to patients. So I think you will continue to see partnerships from us in the same vein,” she said.