Healthcare News & Insights

Emerging new technology: Changing the face of NEMT for service providers

Not everyone can get to their medical appointments with ease. Especially for the elderly and frail patients, finding transportation can be difficult. In this guest post, Monica Rivera, VP of business development and sales at a non-emergency transportation broker, shows how advanced technologies can help non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) patients get the care they need and help providers better manage their time.

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Every year more than 3.6 million people miss or delay medical care because they lack available or affordable transportation, according to an often cited CNBC article. When you consider the nation’s healthcare system loses an estimated $150 billion per year due to missed medical appointments, it’s clear there’s a serious healthcare issue in our country.

With often overwhelming requirements placed on service-demand providers, such as Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems surveys, and Medicare and Medicaid obligations, helping healthcare providers clear hurdles with technological innovation is imperative. Advanced technologies can help ensure NEMT patients – many of whom are frail and vulnerable – have access to the care they need.

Emerging technologies are helping providers and care coordinators better manage their time in scheduling and monitoring patients’ travel to medical appointments. Think about not having to worry when patients will arrive, and instead being able to better focus on patient care.

Digitally integrated transportation networks have set the stage for this advancement. It enables automated administration of transportation benefits, simple ride scheduling and trip assignments by call centers, healthcare facilities, case managers, care givers and patients.

Every ride will be digitized and include GPS tracking. Facilities and care coordinators will have a dashboard showing when a member is picked up or dropped off, and what happens throughout the trip. This real-time, actionable data is invaluable in helping care coordinators effectively navigate the many facets of their patients’ non-emergency medical transportation and provide the appropriate regimens of treatment.

Increased accessibility, reduction of cost

Take a second to consider the way the system has worked traditionally. Now flip that on its head. Instead of a patient care coordinator or healthcare provider calling a cab company or transportation provider to determine when a patient will arrive, they will now have this information at their fingertips via a dashboard that provides the estimated time.

In addition to increased accessibility, reduction of cost for service providers is another factor to highlight when taking a holistic view of emerging technology in the NEMT space. If you were to ask 95% of care coordinators how much time they spend on the onerous bookkeeping associated with transportation costs, chances are they have no idea because they have to work through a combination of receipts and vouchers from Lyft, Uber, cab companies and a network of transportation providers. Because it’s not at the aggregate level, they’re not able to see it in a clear and concise format, and therefore it becomes an increasingly cumbersome process to evaluate. With new technology, it will now be housed in one place allowing for easy access.

It’s not just providers that will benefit from this new technology. Patients will have access to apps featuring technology similar to those utilized by Uber and Lyft. Users will be able to simply request a ride by swiping and selecting, rather than calling. What’s perhaps most anticipated by patients is the ability to know the exact time they will be picked up for appointments. Additionally, patients will be able to rate their interactions and overall trip experiences using one to five stars to denote levels of satisfaction.

Reducing barriers to healthcare transportation for service providers and improving access for people in need via technology-enabled solutions that provide enhanced functionality and high overall system efficiency is essential. Advanced technology offers a giant step forward.

Monica Rivera is the VP of business development and sales at Circulation & LogistiCare, a non-emergency transportation broker. Its range of services include call center management, network credentialing, vendor payment management and non-emergency medical transportation management.

 

 

 

 

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