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The company announced Thursday that it's teaming up with health care organizations to provide transportation for patients going to and from medical appointments. The service is coordinated through text messaging, so patients who don't have smartphones can use it.

Uber charges medical providers the cost of each individual ride.

Some facilities are already eager and appreciative of Uber Health's services and a partnership. Hospitals, doctors and other providers could be eager to pay for those rides if it means more on-time appointments and fewer no-shows - which translates into more revenue in their pockets. Mighty contributor Dani S. told The Mighty that Uber Health sounded like a good idea and that he typically uses Lyft to get to appointments. But it is a way that Uber can open up a promising new line of business while also providing a solution to a problem in the healthcare industry backed by the reliability of the ride-hailing company's consumer service.

It's been previously reported that some people often use Uber as a replacement for calling an ambulance, perhaps because they're cheaper than emergency transport. However, using Uber as an ambulance can put a driver in an awkward position for suddenly taking on a job they weren't trained for. The patient doesn't need to do anything to book the appointment or confirm the ride, as everything is done for them. The company has supported numerous smaller health related efforts, including offering free rides to breast cancer screenings in the United States and diabetes and thyroid testing in India.

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Molina Healthcare Inc. has offered a transportation benefit to its customers for around 25 years and says that more than 3 million people are eligible.

Uber moves into healthcare.

Uber Health stores all of the trip information but only in client-side, HIPAA-compliant servers, and that data is never stored on Uber's own, Weber points out. Researchers hypothesized this was mostly due to the lower cost and ability to select which hospital or medical facility you want to go to. "There's a transportation barrier, and if they can't make it to their services, Uber is a reliable option". "For many, their first ever Uber ride will be through Uber Health, so we're committed to providing the necessary education tools that ensure every patient feels comfortable and at ease during their journey". The company said it provides clear monthly billing statements so that organizations can track how much they're spending on transportation, assuming that they front the costs of rides for patients.