TNCs (and eventually AVs) will help facilitate healthcare access

Uber has launched a platform to help facilitate access to healthcare. While many people miss appointments because they cannot get to a doctor (claimed to be more than 3.6 million).

The experiences of healthcare providers using TNCs to get patients to care has been mixed. The director of consumer health initiatives at MedStar Health has said that “Uber has helped us drastically reduce appointment cancellations. It’s great to be able to quickly request a ride with so that in need patients can make an appointment they’d otherwise miss.” And a working paper from a University of Kansas Economist has shown that TNCs entry into a city’s transportation market “reduced the per capital ambulance volume by at least 7%”.

However, research in the JAMA Internal Medicine has demonstrated that free ride services using TNCs “may not be as effective as previously thought.” So as Uber rolls out its platform it may be challenged to sustain the connections with those that most need a ride with their technology–specifically as it relates to the digital divide and access to the technology needed to Uber/Lyft. Though there is evidence that government use of smartphone applications have been shown potential to help bridge the digital divide.

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  1. Gary R. Collins, AIA

    There seems to be a general pacivity to the advent of AV transport as an unqualified social benefit. However, there is in urban design terms little about this “new” paradigm that changes the basic antagonism between comfortable pedestrian use vs. vehicular dominance. Street and roadway design will not much change, and unless the AV can mind read, nothing to stop children and pets from running into the street, or the hearing, visually, or cognitively impaired from stepping into traffic. Electric vehicles per se will be an overall improvement in pollution generation and energy consumption, but one facet of vehicular dependence will be that all sorts of trucks will need to ply the city to distribute goods and services. In order for the system to work, each would have to be an AV vehicle in order to mesh with AV passenger cars. The differences in the purpose and function of trucking will make the interface even more problematic. The bottom line is that vehicles and pedestrians don’t mesh well, and never have. Without separation of humans and transport machines capable of high speeds and heavy loads (passengers or other cargo), the current model will not be changed sufficiently to justify its institution as a universal system.

    • Emanuel Harris

      I completely agree. If it were up to me would just leave it alone. Implementing AVs’ and TNCS
      s might be a little risky.

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