Healthcare Insight: Transportation - An Urgent Need
With an average of 10,000 baby boomers turning 65 daily in America, the demand for a critical healthcare need is growing - someone to drive them to and from their doctor appointments.
For the aging population's needs, transportation to medical appointments requires more than just someone who can pick them up and drop them off. Many older people can't use taxis or car services because they require skilled drivers who are capable of transporting someone who may be frail or use special equipment like a wheelchair or an oxygen tank.
It isn't just aging Americans who need reliable transportation to doctor appointments. Cancer, dialysis, physical therapy, and low-income patients are among those who require regular doctor visits but have no way of getting to them.
The Cost of Missed Appointments
Because of the hassles of finding drivers who can meet their medical needs, approximately 30 percent of all patients skip their doctor appointments, according to a report by healthcare technology firm SCI Solutions. Those no-show cost the healthcare industry $150 billion in lost revenue each year since each unused time slot costs a doctor an average of $200. What's more, missing an appointment could snowball into additional costs if untreated mild illnesses turn into chronic conditions that require expensive care.
Addressing the Need
Several technology startups have begun to address the need for transportation in healthcare, and experts see the demand growing. According to the Pew Research Center, about 52.5 million people (16 percent of the of the total population) are over the age of 65, and that number is expected to increase to 73.1 million (21 percent of the total population) by 2030. About 21 percent of those over 65 don't drive, and many of those don't have family members who can take them to appointments.