JPM24: Uber Health, Socially Determined team up to connect patients to healthy food, prescription delivery

Uber Health and analytics company Socially Determined are collaborating to help providers and payers link patients with resources like rides to medical appointments and grocery and prescription medication delivery.

The two companies are partnering to bring an analytics-first approach to tackling patients' social determinants of health needs.

Through the partnership, announced Monday at the J. P. Morgan Healthcare Conference, Socially Determined will leverage its social risk analytics technology to help providers and payers identify vulnerable Medicaid, Medicare Advantage and commercially insured beneficiaries most in need of transportation, pharmacy and food-based benefits.

Uber's healthcare arm will tap into its logistics muscle and mobility solutions to help coordinate the delivery of medications, groceries and over-the-counter products to patients' homes as well as transportation to get patients to and from medical appointments.

“Historically, the onus has been on patients to navigate their own benefits—from figuring out what they’re eligible for, to tracking down those services, to securing reimbursement. We’re turning that model on its head,” said Caitlin Donovan, global head of Uber Health, said in a statement. “Now, plans and providers can turn to Socially Determined to gain insight into what their patients need and then leverage the Uber Health platform to coordinate access to those items and services. This enables healthcare organizations to take a more strategic, proactive, and impactful approach to patient care, driving better outcomes at scale."

Follow the Fierce team's coverage of the 2024 J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference here

The partnership builds on Uber Health's moves last year to expand its reach in healthcare. The company rolled out same-day prescription delivery services in March and then added grocery and over-the-counter pharmacy product delivery several months later.

Uber Health launched in 2018 primarily focused on streamlining non-emergency medical transportation options to help get patients to and from medical appointments. In the past five years, the ride-share giant has ramped up its logistics support and benefits coordination services to deepen its relationships with providers and payers.

With access to patient benefit data and eligibility files from payers, providers can soon leverage existing benefit structures and confidently deploy services that can be covered by insurance, according to Uber Health.

More than 3,000 healthcare organizations already use Uber Health to coordinate supplemental benefits that are an increasingly critical component of value-based care and population health programs.

In an interview last year, Donovan said Uber Health is focused on rethinking the logistics of care—improving patient access and experience while simplifying things on the back end for health plans and providers. Uber Health's platform streamlines coordination across multiple benefits—NEMT, prescription delivery and food and OTC medication delivery, helping payers and providers support patients beyond the four walls of a medical office, Donovan said.

With Socially Determined’s social risk data and analytics, these organizations can now `better identify individuals with the greatest needs to enable targeted allocation of available benefits and interventions, according to the companies.

An analytics-based approach helps to ensure that limited time, resources and capital are being allocated to make the biggest impact, executives said.

“For years, our payer and provider customers have utilized our social risk analytics to better understand and address the challenges their members and patients faced every day. And now we’ve developed purpose-built analytic models designed explicitly for Uber Health’s key benefits that immediately help identify those individuals with the greatest need for each benefit,” said Trenor Williams, co-founder and CEO at Socially Determined in a statement.

“Once our payer and provider partners know who needs assistance and what specific challenges need to be addressed, they require a partner to help mitigate those risks and eliminate those barriers. Uber Health’s knowledge, approach and ubiquitous network provides the perfect partner for our analytics and allows our customers to drive measurable, improved outcomes and member experience," Williams said.

Socially Determined, named one of Fierce Healthcare's Fierce 15 of 2022 honorees, built a social risk intelligence platform, SocialScape, that helps payers, companies and providers track social risk and how to address it. The promise of such insights includes the potential to improve health outcomes and reduce disparities in the communities being served, according to the company.

Leveraging Socially Determined’s social risk data with Uber Health’s benefits and HIPAA-enabled platform helps payers and providers to identify individuals with specific needs and challenges and then align available benefits with eligible members, according to the companies.

By taking a more proactive, data-driven approach to tracking social needs, payers and providers can remove barriers to accessing care and resources and uncover unmet needs in the community, company executives said. These efforts also can help reduce healthcare costs by enabling members and patients to see their doctors, get access to groceries and receive necessary medications.

Launched in 2017, Socially Determined raised $26 million in a series B funding round in June 2022 and has raised $36 million to date.