South Asian creates website to help transport patients from one place to the other

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(Courtesy: Twitter)

Sumun Khetpal, a second-year medical student at Yale University, has co-founded Ride Health, a web-based, HIPPA-compliant company that seeks to eliminate physical barriers to patients’ access to health care, and use physicians’ time more efficiently.

“Almost 4 million Americans each year miss their appointments due to transportation. Providers can’t bill for no-shows and lose almost $4 billion in revenue and some estimates put the dollar cost to the system on conditions that develop or progress because of these missed appointments at $40 billion,” Khetpal is quoted saying in a press release.

As a student at the University of Pennsylvania, Khetpal truly saw the need for Ride Health when she was enrolled in a health care entrepreneurship class and was volunteering at the Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia when one night she encountered a family of three in the reception area.

“They were distraught, and I wondered what was happening. Was it a medical emergency? The father said that their ride had cancelled, and they didn’t have a way to return home safely. It was dark and raining. As an undergraduate student, I had not encountered this situation before. It caught me by surprise,” Khetpal said, adding that hospitals normally provide free transportation for qualified families, but that night the option was unavailable.

“The hospital was out of vouchers and Logisticare wasn’t running for some reason” so she personally booked the family an Uber car back to their home.

Khetpal then met Imran Cronk, who had a similar experience which led him to co-found the company and become its chief executive officer.

“[Sumun and I] met at Penn, and both had experiences with the phenomenon of transportation issues as a barrier to effective health care, a patient of mine in North Carolina who’d been released from the hospital didn’t have a ride, and I ended up driving them home. If I hadn’t been there, they’d have been out of luck,” he is quoted saying in a press release.

Cronk also saw the need to provide low-income patients with free rides as a way of increasing access to health care, making it cheaper with a higher quality for those people who receive it when they would not have, otherwise.

“The overall goal is ambitious, but simple. Every patient everywhere can access transportation to their health care appointments. This is a model that should be in place wherever logistical barriers prevent people from reaching care,” he added.

According to a press release, Ride Health has executed a partnership with the American Cancer Society, and is live in 11 states with multiple health systems, Accountable Care Organizations (ACO) and health plans.

To date, Ride Health has provided over 3,000 rides, accounting for over $50,000 in ride spend.

The company was also a finalist at the 2018 Startup at Yale competition.

Khetpal has been working hard to roll Ride Health out to needy communities in the greater New Haven area and has reached agreements with behavioral health and substance abuse centers in Connecticut, which is expected to launch later in the fall.

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