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Ridesharing Services Don't Reduce Missed Appointments

Among Medicaid patients, uptake of ridesharing is low and doesn't reduce missed appointments

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WEDNESDAY, Feb. 7, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- For Medicaid patients, the uptake of rideshare-based transportation is low and is not associated with a reduction in missed primary care appointments, according to a study published online Feb. 5 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Krisda H. Chaiyachati, M.D., M.P.H., from the Corporal Michael Crescenz Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Philadelphia, and colleagues examined the correlation between rideshare-based medical transportation and missed primary care appointments in a prospective clinical trial involving 786 Medicaid beneficiaries. Based on the prescheduled day of their primary care appointment reminder, participants were allocated to being offered complimentary ride-sharing services (intervention arm) or usual care (control arm). Patients assigned to both arms received automated phone call reminders before their scheduled appointment, and they received up to three additional reminder phone calls from research staff two days before their scheduled appointment. Patients in the intervention arm were offered a complimentary ridesharing service; rides were prescheduled for those interested in the service.

The researchers found that, within the intervention arm, 26 percent of participants who answered the phone call used ridesharing. The missed appointment rate was 36.5 and 36.7 percent for the intervention and control arms, respectively (P = 0.96).

"The uptake of ridesharing was low and did not decrease missed primary care appointments," the authors write. "Future studies trying to reduce missed appointments should explore alternative delivery models or targeting populations with stronger transportation needs."

A ridesharing service dispatch platform was provided by Lyft Inc. for use in the study.

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