What’s next? Weddings? Pedicures?
Apparently the Uber backend systems can set up and manage just about anything; now the company is offering we’ll-come-to-you flu shots in New York, Boston, and Washington, D.C. in a one-day pilot.
Uber is running the pilot jointly with Harvard Medical School’s Vaccine Finder program, which presumably provides the nurses and vaccine while “UberHEALTH,” as the service is called, provides the transport and management.
That’s pretty cool. But what if the pilot becomes something more? Maybe it should. Uber is in a position to deliver a valuable preventative health service. Harvard professor John Brownstein said the program has “huge” potential to “deliver more convenience into delivery of care.”
Many people don’t like the needle, and it’s easy to blow off a trip to the doctor to get the flu shot. That’s why many employers have brought in people to give the shots on site. But Uber takes away any chance of begging off by bringing the nurse to your living room.
It’s thought that millions of dollars could be saved each year if more people got flu shots. Employers would save money because workers would take fewer sick days. The health system at large would benefit from fewer people getting sick.
(Some of the most promising digital health startups will be discussing patient engagement and wellness strategies at VentureBeat’s HealthBeat conference Oct. 27 and 28.)
“If you or your friends choose to be vaccinated, please arrange for a suitable indoor environment before your nurse arrives,” Uber says in the guidelines for the service. So, no, you can’t have the nurse give you a shot outside a bar or at a bus stop.
And to add just a little more PR goodness to the whole thing, Uber is donating $5 to the Red Cross to support vaccination efforts for children including its Measles & Rubella Initiative.
My only question is this: Will the nurses charge time-and-a-half during “surge” periods?