A MidlevelU Career Advisor Road-Tests Home Health Services

When I think of home health, my mind conjures up images of non-healing wounds, COPD patients on oxygen 24/7, and cancer patients receiving IV meds from the convenience of their own couch...if you can really call any cancer related therapy 'convenient'. But, home health is really much more than care of the chronically ill and its boundaries are ever expanding. So, when we at MidlevelU HQ heard about UberHEALTH's flu shot program, we decided to give it a try. 

MidlevelU Career Advisor, Emily, had been slow to jump on the flu shot bandwagon this season. So, taking a mental break one sunny afternoon, we voted her a prime candidate for road testing Uber's home health services. Using the Uber app on her phone, Emily summoned an UberHEALTH car in the same way she would a ride home from a weekend night out. Almost immediately her phone rang. A call wasn't the norm when summoning an Uber based on Emily's and other MidlevelU staffers' experience. 

Emily answered with skepticism in her voice. On the phone was a nurse prepped with a few preliminary screening questions for Emily. Listening in, we couldn't suppress a chuckle as the nurse asked if she was in a private, safe location. Apparently getting inoculated on a street corner is unacceptable. Deeming MidlevelU's office space a 'safe and private location', the flu shot nurse and her trusty Uber driver arrived at our door a few moments later. 

Emily forked over 10 bucks using her Uber app in exchange for a 'wellness pack' (contents included a water bottle and other forgettable paraphernalia), completed a brief paper questionnaire, and one quick injection later received convenient influenza protection for the season. No insurance information was required in the process 

Curious about UberHEALTH's service, we asked Emily's flu shot nurse, Sara, a few questions about the program. Here's the lowdown: 

  • No, Uber does not educate drivers themselves on influenza vaccine administration. Rather, the company partners with Passport Health, a healthcare organization that staffs nurses for the program. 
  • Uber drivers chaperone flu shot nurses by driving them to locations where customers request vaccine services. Typically, the driver remains in the car during the customer interaction.
  • The fee for an on-demand vaccine is $10 per location. The fee covers administration of up to 10 flu shots at each location. So, groups of customers may split the $10 cost. 
  • If the nurse feels unsafe, uncomfortable, or just plain sketched out, she/he may refuse service, request that the driver accompany him/her into the customer's home, or straight up run out the door. 

At MidlevelU headquarters, we figured that using Emily for our flu shot experiment was pretty low risk. Fortunately, our assumption was correct and no humans were harmed in the flu shot experiment. In fact, the experience turned out to exceed our expectations. For a nominal fee, Emily received her influenza vaccine without facing the winter cold, long pharmacy lines full of sneezers, or inconvenient walk-in clinic schedules. I think it's safe to say that other MidlevelU staffers will be joining in the on-demand flu shot extravaganza in 2016. 

If you haven't received your flu shot this year or have patients who might benefit from on-demand influenza vaccine services, UberHEALTH plans to offer the vaccine in the following locations:

  • Northeast: Baltimore, Boston, Hartford, Hoboken, Jersey City, New York, Philadelphia, Providence, Washington, Worcester
  • South: Atlanta, Charleston, Charlotte, Dallas, Houston, Nashville, New Orleans, Orlando, Raleigh/Durham, Richmond, Tampa Bay
  • Midwest: Columbus, Des Moines, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh
  • West: Boise, Los Angeles, Orange County, Phoenix, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle

What's your opinion of on-demand home health services?