Is Uber Decreasing Ambulance Calls?
People will call for an Uber to get around instead of taking the bus, walking, or calling for cabs. When Uber first came on the scene, it seemed like such a novel idea.
Anyone could make money providing taxi services without the same overhead of being a licensed taxi driver or without the higher fares that taxis charge.
How Uber is Affecting EMS
What does this phenomenon have to do with ambulances, though? Two economists discovered that cities with Uber services saw a decrease of 7 percent in ambulance calls from “low-risk patients.”
Low-risk means that the reason for the call is not life-threatening or immediate danger. It could be anything from a sprained ankle to a persistent cough. Instead of calling for an ambulance, these patients are hiring Ubers to take them to emergency rooms or urgent care clinics.
The economists also thought that another reason for the decrease in ambulance calls was fewer drunk driving incidents. Fewer people are getting behind the wheel after a night out because they know that they can call for an Uber to get home.
Pros and Cons
However, there are pros and cons to using a ride-share service when it comes to healthcare. Patients need to consider the risks and do their research before deciding whether to call an Uber or call for an ambulance.
Uber could be less expensive than an ambulance, but it’s important to go to the right medical center for the patient’s insurance. The medical center also should be one that is equipped to handle the medical concern. Going to the wrong place could mean paying for another Uber or taking an ambulance.
Certain medical conditions might be more serious than they first appear. Taking an Uber could delay necessary medical care that only EMTs and Paramedics on an ambulance team could provide.
Could it be an EMS Option?
Should ride-share services like Uber and Lyft be an option for 911 callers? Emergency medical teams could find ways to help low-risk patients by coordinating their care with Uber.
Patients might decide to call an Uber instead of an ambulance because they want to save money on transportation costs, but it could also affect their medical condition in a negative way. Or, it could be a good choice for a particular patient.