Lyft Finding Its Lane In Home-Based Care

Although the popular ride-sharing app Lyft Inc. (Nasdaq: LYFT) was formed in 2012, Buck Poropatich considers 2016 a turning point for the company.

That’s when company leaders decided to take a look at health care.

“That’s when Lyft started to realize health care is not a $4 trillion monolith,” Poropatich, head of Lyft Health Care, told Home Health Care News. “It is hundreds and thousands of billion dollar industries — one of which is non–emergency medical transportation.”


Lyft’s health care strategy puts the company squarely within home-based care. It has been partnering in the space for years, with companies such as Right at Home, Comfort Keepers and Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM).

The company’s objective in the space is not to disrupt it, but to find a specific niche within it.

Poropatich cited a recent study from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that found 5% of American adults reported forgoing health care in 2022 due to transportation barriers.


“That means for 10 million Americans, health care is either inaccessible at its worst and inconvenient at best,” Poropatich said. “There was just a very natural and obvious fit for Lyft, where we can leverage automated transportation to get people to the care that they want. Since then, frankly, it’s been kind of a rocketship of growth and opportunity.”

Lyft’s health care leaders also recognized that more health care would be provided in the home in the future, Poropatich said.

Originally, the company thought it had a three- to five-year window to capitalize on that momentum. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it became a three- to five-week sprint instead.

“Everything needed to get to the home, inclusive of care,” Poropatich said. “For us, all of a sudden new data points showed up for where things were going, where people were headed, new buying profiles, new drop-offs and destinations. Care was actually in the home.”

Poropatich believes Lyft can help patients get to health care appointments that are outside of their homes. At the same time, he believes it can help get caregivers and clinicians to those at-home visits, while also reducing windshield time for them.

One of the keys to the company’s success in health care is self-awareness, Poropatich said. He and the rest of the team know that ride-sharing is not for every at-home care worker or patient.

Understanding which lanes Lyft can fill, however, is the priority.

“The analogy we give is that we look at ourselves as urgent care,” he said. “Urgent care, from a delivery perspective, brought in cost, accessibility and convenience. That’s how we see Lyft.”

Lyft’s penetration in the market could also help health care professionals operate at the top of their licenses.

“We want the rideshare appropriate, ambulatory, fully cognizant person in a Lyft so that the people who are truly specialized in health care transportation can operate at the top of their license,” Poropatich said. “We want them to serve the population where wheelchair-accessible vehicles are needed. Not the other 40% of riders who are going to a wellness visit.”

Ultimately, Lyft wants to reduce costs, improve convenience and enhance accessibility for patients and its partners.

“We’re not a fully comprehensive solution,” Poropatich said. “This is not a threat to the academic medical center. It is a collaboration and an orchestration, and we work within the ecosystem and with the partners we have to make sure that we’re appropriately leveraged. And, when we can, bring an incredible member experience.”

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