A medical center in Cleveland is finding a remarkably simple way to improve results for patients in addiction therapy and intensive outpatient programs – giving them free Uber rides to and from treatment.
After 30 days of a small pilot program, patients with Uber rides have attended 100 percent of their therapy and IOP sessions. By contrast, in the 30 days prior to the program, patients attended only 76 percent of IOP sessions and only 62 percent of individual therapy sessions.
The 100-percent attendance rate is "amazing," says Orlando S. Howard, outpatient manager at Cleveland’s St. Vincent Charity Medical Center.
The medical center had previously found that the biggest reason for missing appointments was lack of reliable and convenient transportation. The Center had tried offering bus passes, but these were not always convenient, and they often resulted in long trips during which recovering addicts had the ability to stop at liquor stores and other sources of temptation.
A van was also proposed, but the logistics of stopping to pick up all the participants proved unworkable.
The medical center arranged the Uber rides in partnership with a Boston-based company called Circulation, which has a HIPAA-compliant platform for arranging the rides.
Howard comments, “I've been in the treatment field for over 25 years, [and] I've never seen anything as exciting as this."