This Startup Is Breaking Down the Transportation Barrier in Healthcare

Kaizen has partnered with Lyft to get patients to healthcare providers cheaply, reducing patient discharge times and missed or late appointments for providers.

Every year 3.6 million Americans miss or delay medical treatment due to a lack of transportation, and every year missed appointments cost our country $150B. Mindi Knebel discovered this problem when, over the course of a month, both sides of her family in rural Iowa and in urban Chicago were unable to find affordable, reliable transportation to access healthcare.

When her aunt needed physical therapy a couple of times a week and could not drive to a nearby office, she had no other option but to move into a nursing home Monday through Friday to get physical therapy that she needed.

With this use case in mind, the team Mindi Knebel and David Wachs founded Kaizen Health, a startup that solve the problem of access to healthcare when transportation is the barrier by connecting health providers, transportation providers, insurance companies and patients.

The Kaizen Health platform provides transparency, communication and real-time data to all parties all while providing one place to programatically schedule all vehicle types from the ride-sharing industry (Lyft) to wheelchair accessible vehicles, vehicles with car seats, non-emergency ambulances and small buses. The Kaizen Health team has also written an algorithm to ensure that patients arrive at their appointments 15–20 minutes before the scheduled appointment to ensure that clinic/hospital schedules are running on time.

The Kaizen Health technology is HIPAA compliant and protects the patient’s information; the software ensures only minimal information is shared with transportation providers without compromising the ability for the patient and transportation provider to communicate or the ability to tie a ride back to a healthcare event.

With the Kaizen Health platform, the healthcare provider can track their patients while the ride is in progress, the patient gets updated information about their upcoming ride and the transportation provider has confirmation from the patient that they will be home to be picked up. The health insurance company gets accurate data on a ride — distance, start and stop points, and actual cost — which can be tied to a healthcare event.

“I think that this issue has not been addressed until recently because the NEMT (non-emergency medical transportation) industry been profitable for a long time without ever being forced to innovate. The rideshare industry has shown us there are other ways that transportation can work, which gives more data and communication options,” states Knebel.

“We focus on the whole healthcare ecosystem — because everyone feels the pain of missed preventative care resulting in more emergency department visits, inpatient stays and unnecessary readmissions.”
— Mindi Knebel

The Kaizen Health platform has proven results for all parties involved:

  • In-patient discharge times for providers have improved because average wait times for a ride has been 5 minutes.
  • 94% of patients show up to their appointments on time.
  • 97% of the patients that confirm their rides follow through with their ride and all patients surveyed have indicated that they are either very or extremely satisfied with their ride.
  • Average costs have remained under $19.

Kaizen Health has launched with healthcare systems and insurance companies in their hometown of Chicago and will be launching in several other states over the next two months.

Learn more about Kaizen.