Equitable Access to Healthcare Through Improved Access to Transportation
Principal Investigator(s):Saifallah Benjaafar, Professor, Industrial and Systems Engineering
- Jason Chan, Associate Professor, Carlson School of Management
The goal of this project is to investigate the extent to which access to healthcare services can be improved though improved access to transportation. In particular, the research team is examining whether offering free transportation to medical appointments to low-income patients can reduce no-show rates and the impact of such reduction on health outcomes for the patients and cost-savings and revenue enhancements to healthcare providers.
The research leverages unique pilots by Hitch Heath, a software and health-solution provider incubated by the Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC). Hitch Health has pioneered a unique service (no-cost and low-tech for the user) that offers eligible patients, including those that are low-income, round-trip transportation to medical appointments on a ride-hailing platform such as Uber and Lyft.
The research is also investigating opportunities for design changes to the service that could lead to greater patient participation. For example, this could include the timing and frequency of reminders, the choice between voice and text messages, and flexibility in pick-up and drop-off locations. A combination of patient surveys and potentially A/B testing will be used to identify design changes that are likely to be most-effective.