How Lyft improves patient experience at Denver's primary safety net hospital.
Help Medicaid and Medicare patients get to the hospital and increase appointment adherence.Learn More
Lyft Concierge enables Denver Health to provide non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) in a timely and cost efficient manner.Learn More
- Increased patient satisfaction and appointment adherence
- Decreased waiting time for patient pickup
- Avoided lost revenue from missed appointments and no shows
Promises, not profits
Twenty-five percent of the residents in Denver, Colorado receive healthcare at Denver Health, a comprehensive, integrated organization that provides level-one care for all — regardless of a patient’s ability to pay. As Colorado’s primary safety net institution, Denver Health has provided billions of dollars in uncompensated care, and serves as a model for other safety net institutions across the nation.
Driven by the values of trust, respect, and excellence rather than the financial bottom line, Denver Health puts the patient first. The operational model consists of a list of values Denver Health promises:
• We promise to treat patients, visitors and each other with courtesy, dignity and respect.
• We promise to solve problems through teamwork and good communication.
• We promise to strive for excellence through continuous improvement and innovation.
"We started using Lyft a year ago in the ER. It worked really well for the three months, so we went ahead and rolled it out to the hospital in general, and then we started extending it to clinic after clinic."
Chief Experience Officer, Denver Health
Challenges beyond ailments and treatments
With this kind of commitment — and with the majority of Denver Health’s patients depending on Medicare, Medicaid or no insurance at all — the healthcare system copes with challenges beyond the scope of clinical care. Some patients are new to the United States, don’t understand the culture yet, or speak English. Some live in transportation deserts, hard-to-navigate housing projects, and homeless shelters.
All this combines into a process that many people take for granted — getting to and from the hospital — into an obstacle that impacts treatment and negatively affects patient health. A patient using the Denver bus system might need to take four different buses to get to Denver Health for an appointment, creating a hassle that often leads to a missed appointment, or worse, a trip to the emergency department.
“They end up not getting the care that they need,” says Amy Friedman, Denver Health’s Chief Experience Officer. ”Our priority is to remove the stress of getting to and from the hospital, so our patients can get the right care in the right place.”
A partner that understands the mission
A contract with Lyft turned out to be the ideal cure for the problem, but Amy says that you can’t appreciate how good Lyft is without knowing what it has replaced.
“At one time,” she says, “we had patients with little-to-no resources, waiting for hours for a cab. This could take anywhere from 45 minutes to two and a half hours.” Now, Lyft has decreased wait times, ensuring that patients leave Denver Health on time. Lyft has created a consistent experience, instead of patients having to rely on buses and taxis.
As Chief Experience Officer, Amy’s challenge is to reach out and extend Denver Health’s promises to its patients beyond the organization’s walls, and when she began to explore
transportation services, she decided to try Lyft.
“I called them,” she says, “and they called me back right away. Literally within days we had a partnership agreement, and we had a new and much better way to transport patients.”
From that point on it was an unmitigated success story. “It only took a week to get the [Lyft Business] portal installed and employees in the hospital up to speed on using it,” Amy says. “We started using Lyft a year ago in the ER. It worked really well for three months, so we went ahead and rolled it out to the hospital in general, and then we started extending it to clinic after clinic.”
Making a difference one ride at a time
Factors such as responsiveness and ease of use make working with Lyft a positive experience, but Amy focuses on something that is even more important. “The culture of Lyft matches our culture,” she says, citing as an example Round up and Donate, a Lyft program that gives riders the option to round their fares up to the next dollar and donate the difference to a good cause. “Some of these drivers are so amazing,” she goes on. “Lyft’s interests are the same as ours — giving back, community, and compassion. In other words, people first. They know that these passengers have just been discharged from a hospital, and they want to do that one special thing for them. Lyft drivers aren’t supposed to wait more than five minutes for a rider, but the other day one waited for 15 minutes. He said that he just loved to take the extra time to make people smile and happy.” For someone whose job is focused on patient experience, Lyft is a gold mine. “Anything we can do to reduce the anxiety of patients helps their health and wellbeing,” she says. And when asked what the best thing about Lyft is for Denver Health, she says, “Truly, getting the patients home quickly from the hospital where they can rest and recuperate.”