Lyft is an on-demand transportation company that allows people to arrange rides with Lyft-certified drivers. Its main rival is Uber.
Lyft has hired its first vice president of healthcare, who will help the company further push into the industry.
Megan Callahan comes to the on-demand transportation company from Change Healthcare, where she was chief strategy officer. She will lead Lyft's development of healthcare services and technology.
Lyft's healthcare rides having been growing, with three times more in the third quarter of 2018 compared to the same period of 2017. The company has partnerships with some big players in the industry, including not-for-profit health system Ascension, electronic health records and software vendor Allscripts, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.
The company also has partnerships with non-emergency medical transportation companies. One of those companies, Circulation, is also a partner of Uber, Lyft's main competitor.
Healthcare is a large potential market segment for on-demand transportation companies. Medicaid and Medicare, along with some other large insurers, often pay for rides to healthcare facilities.
Many cite transportation problems as a leading reason patients miss appointments. But free rides with Lyft and others might not be a solution. According to a study published earlier this year in JAMA Internal Medicine, the no-show rate among patients who were offered free Lyft rides as 36.5%, compared to 36.7% for those who weren't offered free rides.
But both Lyft and Callahan think the company's rides do make a difference. In a pilot with Hitch Health, a provider of non-emergency medical transportation, missed appointments were down 27%.
"We have a unique opportunity to drive meaningful impact by reducing the healthcare transportation gap for patients," Callahan said, "which is a key factor in improving social determinants of health and lowering costs."