Lyft deepens its healthcare ties with Epic integration

In a move to deepen its ties to healthcare providers, Lyft is integrating with Epic's medical records system to make it easier for hospital staff to schedule rides for patients.

It's the first ride-sharing company to integrate with Epic, one of the largest electronic health record (EHR) companies.

Lyft worked directly with Epic to create the Lyft for Epic integration, enabling health system staff to schedule a Lyft ride for a patient directly from that patient’s record rather than needing to sign into a separate tool.

The EHR giant has about a 30% market share of the U.S. hospital market. More than 250 million patients have a current electronic record in Epic, vastly expanding Lyft’s footprint as it invests heavily in its healthcare product suite.

In 2018, Lyft teamed up with EHR company Allscripts for a similar integration that allows 180,000 physicians to request non-emergency transportation for patients.

Rival Uber also has collaborated with EHR companies, such as teaming up with Cerner to embed its platform into the company's medical records system.

Both Uber and Lyft have been pushing deeper into the healthcare space with provider-requested ride services to capture a share of the estimated 3.6 million Americans who lack transportation to doctor’s appointments.

RELATED: Lyft announces integration with Allscripts EHR system, allowing 180,000 doctors to hail rides for patients

Lyft has made other moves to solidify its position in healthcare, such as bringing on a new executive to help the Lyft healthcare team navigate the complexities of regulations and policy. 

The ride-share company partners with 9 out of the top 10 health systems in the U.S, representing thousands of hospitals and clinics across the country. The Lyft for Epic integration will give these organizations even more resources to ensure transportation is never a barrier to care.

Nearly 30% of hospitals that use Epic already partner with Lyft for their non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) programs. Ochsner Health and Tampa General have already committed to using the integration, according to Lyft.

“Access to reliable transportation is a common barrier to seeking healthcare, especially for our most vulnerable patients,” said David Carmouche, M.D., senior vice president, community care at Ochsner Health.

"By teaming up to integrate Lyft into Epic—our established health record system—Ochsner is providing a solution that makes it easier for patients to seek out high quality care when they need it and without unnecessary delays due to a lack of transportation," he said.

As a result of the integration, hospital staff can send reliable rides directly from a patient’s profile in the EHR—simplifying their day-to-day tasks, saving time, and allowing them to focus on what matters most: the patients, according to Lyft in a press release.

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Patient and appointment information will also pre-populate in the ride request form, reducing friction in the booking process. Arranging a Lyft ride at the time of patient discharge can lead to shorter waiting times, less crowded waiting rooms, and improved patient throughput, the company said.

Patients also can easily get to their appointments and back home after the visit without needing an app.

Arranging medical transportation when booking an appointment can help address appointment adherence. Lyft data shows using the service can help providers reduce no-show rates by up to 27%, the company said.

As part of the integration with Epic, Lyft also is working toward giving health systems the ability to generate reports that make it easier to measure the impact of ride-sharing on health system spend and population health outcomes—potentially even tracking patient segments to proactively identify patients that would benefit from a ride.

“Interfacing Lyft with Epic, Tampa General Hospital’s electronic medical record, will speed up the process to order a Lyft and reduce keyboard time for our team members. This is a win for both, our team members and those we serve, allowing for more valuable time spent with our patients—ultimately impacting quality outcomes which our patients expect," said Jason Swoboda, associate director of health innovation and emerging technology at Tampa General Hospital.