Lyft integrates with Epic, exponentially growing NEMT reach

Dive Brief:

  • Ridehailing giant Lyft is integrating its non-emergency medical transportation platform with Epic, the biggest EHR vendor in the U.S., roughly a year after competitor Uber announced a similar integration with Cerner.
  • More than 250 million patients have an electronic record in Epic, so the integration, which allows health system staff to schedule rides for patients to and from appointments directly in the system, exponentially expands Lyft’s NEMT footprint, the San Francisco-based company said.
  • Several of Lyft’s existing health system clients, including academic medical hospitals Tampa General and Oschner Health, have already committed to use the integration, which goes live next month. Lyft said it’s beginning outreach to other health systems, and is in active discussions with several.

Dive Insight:

Rideshare companies have been struggling with flagging revenue since March as the pandemic keeps potential riders, especially high-risk patients, indoors. But Lyft and Uber, which launched their health divisions in 2016 and 2018, respectively, view the multibillion dollar NEMT market as an opportunity to drive growth.

Traditional healthcare transportation players argue the consumer-focused companies can’t meet the niche needs of many patients. But Lyft and Uber have spent the past few years building up their health system and payer client bases, pitching their ability to reduce patient no-shows that cost providers revenue while improving health outcomes.

Lyft already integrates with Allscript’s EHR, but it’s now the only major transportation network company with a direct integration with Epic. It’s a big get for Lyft: The Verona, Wisconsin-based IT giant had 29% of the acute care hospital market last year, according to KLAS Research.

That’s compared to 26% for runner-up Cerner, which integrated with Uber in October last year.

Integrating with EHRs makes sense for transportation vendors like Lyft and Uber. It allows hospital staff to schedule rides without having to access a separate tool, with patient and appointment information automatically populating into the ride request form.

Lyft said it’s working toward giving health systems the ability to generate reports to measure the impact of rideshare on spending and population health outcomes. It’s also interested in potentially tracking patient segments to proactively identify those who would benefit from an NEMT ride.

Lyft doesn’t disclose the size of its NEMT segment, but has seen rider use fluctuate somewhat throughout the pandemic as many patients have elected to stay home and use telehealth for nonemergent needs. The company doesn’t break out its healthcare clients, but says it partners with nine of the top 10 U.S. health systems, representing “thousands” of hospitals and clinics. Of the health systems that use Epic, almost 30% already use Lyft for their NEMT programs, according to Lyft.

Uber Health had more than 1,000 clients going into 2020.