Study Finds More People Choose Uber For Hospital Trips Over An Ambulance

Remigio Civitarese
Dicembre 18, 2017

Ambulance rides can cost patients or their insurance companies thousands of dollars, and the study authors suggest that Uber could be a cheaper alternative.

A new study carried out by economists at the University of Kansas (UK) suggests that more people are avoiding these costs by turning to Uber when the situation isn't too dire, and that reducing the reliance on ambulances in this way could have its benefits when its comes to medical care.

With emergency room patients who are too sick to drive but who don't need medical care during the drive, an Uber would suffice.

'Many patients don't need something that can break traffic laws and don't need something staffed by paramedics with a bunch of fancy equipment, ' Slusky said in a statement. The study looked at ambulance rates in 766 US cities across the country in 43 states when Uber was made available in the area from 2013-2015. "It's the same in the provider space: you don't need a neurosurgeon to diagnose strep throat".

"In order to lower health care spending while improving health outcomes, people can use the least-skilled professional who is still qualified", says David Slusky.

An alternate explanation for the decline could be an overall reduction in the need for hospital visits due to a decline in drunk driving crashes, said Slusky. The study reports some insurance companies are even offering those covered a $50 gift card to take an Uber instead of ambulance.

Slusky said it's important to conduct this type of research to uncover unintended consequences of Uber entering a market.

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