uber of x

Uber Of X: RoundTrip, Big Data And On-Demand Medical Transportation

The medical transportation industry is getting a shakeup. Historically, a health care organization would call for medical transportation to move a patient from point A to point B, and other than those two points, there would be the missing data that goes along with that trip. Now, there is an “Uber of X” company that allows for an on-demand experience, with all the data that goes along with the ride.

RoundTrip, which officially launched at the end of 2016, is an on-demand, medical transportation system dedicated to hospitals, health plans, mental institutions and other related organizations to transport patients. The marketplace is comprised of pairing those health organizations with credentialed medical transportation companies and combining the data for health providers to bring down the cost of health care in the long run. The concept allows health providers to follow the patient on their journey to and from these health care organizations but also follow up with the patient if they, for example, decide to not board the vehicle prior to their necessary appointments.

The Philadelphia-based company is focused on Big Data and uses that for predictive analytics for health care. Knowing more about the patient is a growing trend and is becoming an invaluable asset to health organizations.

RoundTrip’s Mark Switaj, founder and CEO, and Ankit Mathur, chief information officer, spoke with PYMNTS about how the company has some similarities and differences with Uber, why it’s not just about the transportation and the reason Big Data matters in the health care space.


PYMNTS: What’s the mission and overview of RoundTrip?

MS: Our mission is to simplify medical transportation. RoundTrip is the on-demand, medical transportation system uniquely designed for hospitals, health plans, mental institutions — organizations that routinely order medical transportation on behalf of the patients that they serve. And, on the other side of the equation, RoundTrip partners with medical transportation providers who provide credentialed medical transportation, whether it’s for patients that are wheelchair-bound or patients that are bed-bound that would need to be transported by stretcher or by ambulance from A to B, non-urgently.


PYMNTS: Quite simply, RoundTrip would be the “Uber of Medical Transportation,” correct?

MS: It’s a good way to anchor the mind, but anybody who works in health care can quickly deduce some of the differences between Uber and our model. In one sense, we are using technology to go direct to driver, and we are providing data to the requester. However, we’re working through medical transportation companies, so these drivers are not independent contractors.

So, through a lens, it anchors the mind, but there are several differences that separate us.


PYMNTS: Can you give a history of how it was founded?

MS: Like most health care technology startups, we’ve spent several years tinkering around with the idea of creating an on-demand model for medical transportation. And there is a lot of buzz in the world about the concept of on-demand, specifically when it comes to transportation, from Uber and Lyft, going direct from request to driver. That type of competency is what we’re bringing to medical transportation. This idea that hospitals and other medical institutions can now order a ride with RoundTrip based on the proximity to that pick up request.

Currently, hospitals are ordering transportation by telephone. They’re picking up the phone, and they’re calling various organizations — whether it’s an ambulance company or a health plan or transportation manager — to order the ride for a particular type of patient. What we do is simplify that process. One, we take away the whole phone process. RoundTrip is a web-based portal that we have developed, and we work through credentialed medical transportation providers to receive that request. The ride can be scheduled ahead of time or on-demand. This cuts down on the time it takes to order the vehicle. This all has been incredibly valuable to these facilities, specifically for a hospital where the name of the game is efficiency and patient experience. This means, how quickly can we move a patient from a medical facility or hospital, and what’s the perception of care? Now, with the data that we can provide to these facilities, they can see right through our portal when the vehicle was requested, where it is in the transport and when they anticipate the vehicle getting there. That allows those facilities to manage the flow and — equally as important — keep in contact with that patient.


PYMNTS: Sounds like there is a high focus on Big Data. Correct?

MS: The data that comes out of our platform is equally as valuable as the platform itself. Yes, it’s easy to order, but now, facilities have that information and can best plan for the flow and care of that patient.

Sometimes, in medical transportation, that vehicle will show up, and the patient will look at the vehicle and say, “I’m not going today.” And that may be a chemo patient, and if they don’t get into that vehicle and don’t go to their appointment, that means bad outcomes. But, with RoundTrip, as soon as that patient says they’re not going, in our portal, the care person responsible for that patient is immediately notified of this status update, and they can call the patient and say, “Hey, what’s going on? You’re supposed to come in for chemo today. Why aren’t you coming in?” That sort of follow-up care will help with outcomes. It goes without saying that patients that delay medical care oftentimes turn into sicker patients and, for the system, a more costlier patient.


PYMNTS: Who are you working with currently?

MS: Our organization is specifically, on the demand side, targeting hospitals, medical institutions, clinics, doctors’ offices — folks that order medical transportation.

On the supply side, we are working with medical transportation companies — those organizations that provide medical transportation. Whether it’s a wheelchair van company, a company that provides livery service, ambulance company. In some cases, we’re working with larger networks, such as a medical transportation manager, a Medicaid broker, all about how we can help better.


PYMNTS: How does RoundTrip make money?

MS: We take a fee for every trip that is booked through our portal. The fee is generally paid either by the organization that is requesting the ride or the medical transportation provider of the ride. The fee composition is made up of the demographic of the population that it serves.


PYMNTS: Have you received external funding?

MS: We completed a friends-and-family round of fundraising in the summer of 2016, closing in June. We came in at about a half a million in that fundraising. This has given us the runway of the development of the software, as well as building the team and launching our pilot.


PYMNTS: What cities are you currently in?

MS: We are currently focused in the greater Northeast corridor. Our initial client is in northern Delaware — the Nemours duPont Hospital for Children — and we are right now in the final contracting phase with a few other hospitals in the greater Philadelphia area. We have received letters of intent from them that we’re going to hold off on that announcement just yet, because they would like to announce that with us.


PYMNTS: Where do you think the digital world is headed when it comes to health care?

MS: I think it’s the future. Not only the technology itself but the data that comes out of the technology. Hospitals have been very clear to us, as well as other organizations, saying, “We love the simplicity in what you are doing, but for the first time, we can now gather real, crisp, rich data about every segment in a transport sequence, and from that data, we can extrapolate shifts in care and population management.” All of these things that weren’t accessible to these facilities are now going to be available through RoundTrip.

AM: As health care becomes more digital in some cases, the biggest focus is continuously going to be on the quality of care for the patient. I think that’s where the data that we’re gathering in RoundTrip will help facilitate how patients are treated and how we can bring more patients to the facility. I think a lot of the data that we’re capturing and a lot of other organizations are going to begin capturing around health care will really help these hospitals and facilities improve overall quality of care.


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