Patients who are enrolled in clinical trials or who are scheduled to go to screening appointments for clinical trials organized by Continuum’s clients are eligible for free Lyft rides to the clinical-trial study site.
Continuum Clinical partnered with mobile car service provider Lyft to offer transportation to patients enrolled in clinical trials.
Continuum’s clients include AbbVie, Merck, Sage Therapeutics, Ironwood, and Acadia. Patients who are enrolled in clinical trials or who are scheduled to go to screening appointments for clinical trials organized by Continuum’s clients are eligible for free rides to the clinical-trial study site.
“Studies have shown that of patients considering participating in a clinical trial, up to 50% list transportation as a barrier,” said Nariman Nasser, VP of site optimization at Continuum Clinical. “If they’re relying on family members, their transportation becomes less reliable, and they’re forced to drop out of the trial.”
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In addition, family members and caregivers accompanying the patient to the study site will not be charged an additional cost, said Dan Trigub, who manages healthcare partnerships at Lyft.
Eligible patients do not need to own a smartphone to use the service. They can requests rides through a call center or Lyft’s web request service, where they can input their pickup and drop-off information, and a driver will then pick them up.
Continuum and Lyft are also offering Lyft codes that are generated specifically for each patient to input into the Lyft app.
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“We can control how the Lyft code will be used,” Trigub said. “We can put restrictions such as the specific address, time of day, or day of the week, so there’s no concern about it being used for personal trips on the weekend.”
With this partnership, Nasser said Continuum hopes to reduce the transportation barrier that patients often face when deciding to stay enrolled in clinical trials.
Initially, Continuum and Lyft are providing transportation to clinical-trial patients with ambulatory conditions, focusing on those patients with Alzheimer’s disease and neurological and chronic conditions, noted Nasser.
Through the Access Mode setting in the Lyft app, patients with accessibility needs can request vehicles designed to accommodate wheelchairs.
The ride-hailing company has the capability to assist patients with walkers, wheelchairs, and guide dogs.
The companies announced the partnership on Tuesday at the annual Scope Summit held in Miami, and initial feedback from conference attendees has been positive, said Nasser. “It was a big ‘aha’ moment of people understanding that leveraging something that’s growing in the consumer market in such a simplistic way is going to be a big differentiator for improving patient recruitment and retention,” she said.
Continuum is also using online screening methods to identify patients before they interact with study sites and is exploring how to identify and connect with patients using real-time data, noted Nasser.
“This allows us to track all the activity of the clinical trial, and we’re able to see that in real-time data,” said Nasser.
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Lyft has been involved in the healthcare sector since it announced a partnership in 2016 with the National Medtrans Network to provide 2,500 rides per week to patients with non-emergency medical appointments in New York City. More recently, in December, it announced a partnership with the Ascension health system to provide free or subsidized rides to patients in its network of 141 hospitals and 30 senior care facilities in 24 states and Washington, DC.
Trigub declined to share how much of Lyft’s business is now healthcare-related, but said it’s a growing vertical.
Lyft’s competitor Uber launched UberHealth in 2015 to provide rides to registered nurses delivering flu shots, and it also has partnerships with health system MedStar and startup Circulation to arrange rides for patients.