Medical Care + Transportation = Roundtrip
A bridge between two separately functioning systems that are crucial for patient health
Think about a scenario in which a friend, family member, or neighbor is depending on you to take them to a medical appointment. It sounds simple enough, but a few things have to be true: you have to have a reliable car with fuel, be financially stable, and be able to set aside important time away from work to make the journey.
The sad truth for many populations, such as seniors, those who are economically disadvantaged, and those who lack access to public transit, is that getting to the doctor simply isn’t possible.
This lack of transportation can significantly impact the health of the individual.
Quantifying Transportation Impacts on Health
In fact, every year in the United States, 3.6 million medical appointments are missed or delayed due to an issue with transportation, significantly contributing to the $150,000,000,000 annual burden on the U.S. healthcare system.
That’s an incredibly expensive ripple effect.
Missed appointments increase the risk for worsened health outcomes and higher overall costs. Leaving a condition unchecked may result in an avoidable emergency room trip. Emergency-department care was never meant to be on the front lines of preventative or routine care. Improper usage over-taxes the system for doctors, nurses, and patients who are truly facing emergency situations.
Additionally, a missed appointment inhibits another patient from filling the slot — doctors’ offices see no reimbursement for the time that was lost. Last-minute transportation issues cause cancellations that otherwise would have been back-filled with a patient on a waiting list.
And finally, skipping a screening prevents healthcare providers from being able to launch early interventions. Without the opportunity to diagnose a condition early, situations can worsen for both the patient and overall cost of care.
Technology to Drive Better Health Outcomes
Founded in 2016, health-tech company Roundtrip simplifies healthcare transportation. Founder and CEO Mark Switaj created the company with the vision that transportation would no longer be a barrier to care for anyone.
With operations in 17 states (as of February 2019), Roundtrip connects people to non-emergency medical transportation using its digital transportation marketplace. By building medical transportation networks and supplementing with Lyft as a rideshare partner, the marketplace model allows for both on-demand and scheduled transportation services for any type of vehicle, Lyft, medical cars, wheelchair vans, and non-emergency ambulances.
The center of Roundtrip’s operations is its proprietary technology that creates an easy and fast way for medical transportation to be ordered. Care coordinators, case managers, nurses — anyone who arranges medical transportation on behalf of patients — can order 24/7 non-emergency transportation using the Roundtrip mobile app or online portal.
Once the trip requestor enters the ride details, such as origin, destination, or any special vehicle requirements, the ride is matched with an appropriate transportation provider. As a result, care coordinators gain certainty that their patients will be able to get to their medical appointments.
Payment for the transportation services can be billed to insurance, paid for by the ordering organization, or by a patient using a credit card. Conveniently, the Roundtrip team handles prior authorizations for those insurance-paid rides.
“We’ve created a non-emergency medical transportation system that our healthcare partners don’t have to think about,” says Vinay Nagaraj, an account executive at Roundtrip since February 2018. “We’ve taken the work of transportation coordination off of the hospitals.”
“We like to say we’re keeping healthcare professionals working at the top of their license,” continues Vinay.
This has been a game-changer in the healthcare facilities using Roundtrip: It now takes just 60 seconds to book patient transportation on Roundtrip, while the traditional coordination of patient transportation takes an average of 18 minutes per trip.
And those enormous costs associated with appointment no-show rates? Healthcare providers using Roundtrip have seen no-show rates that are 5x better than the national average. They’ve also reduced their overall transportation costs by up to 40%.
Tapping a Massive Expansion Market
With more than 74 million Baby Boomers living in the United States, non-emergency medical transportation needs will continue to rise. As this generation ages, Florida still proves to be an attractive choice for residing and visiting, which is one of the reasons the Startupbootcamp Scale Digital Health Miami program caught Roundtrip’s attention.
“The Baby Boomer population will need healthcare transportation and Florida is an important market for that,” Vinay says.
A second reason SBC Scale Digital Health Miami presented an ideal opportunity to Roundtrip is the focus on healthcare technology.
“We’ve been through accelerators in the past,” says Vinay, “but none with a healthcare focus. SBC knows healthcare really well, and our latest fundraising efforts were largely bolstered by SBC’s support, so it has been an incredible opportunity.”
Roundtrip has found benefit from meeting other digital health startups through the SBC Miami program. “Most healthcare companies can touch on medical transportation in some way, so we’re finding real value in meeting new potential partners and spreading the word about what we’re doing,” concludes Vinay.