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Addressing adoption barriers to patient transportation services

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: National Institutes of Health
Contract: 4R44NR020320-02
Agency Tracking Number: R44NR020320
Amount: $736,005.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: 600
Solicitation Number: PA20-260
Solicitation Year: 2020
Award Year: 2023
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2023-07-11
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2025-04-30
Small Business Information
405 Lexington Avenue, 9th Floor
New York, NY 10174
United States
DUNS: 111850900
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: Yes
Principal Investigator
 (646) 650-2878
Business Contact
Phone: (212) 274-1654
Research Institution

Among many problems that impede medical appointment attendance, access to transportation
is a national issue. Appointment attendance is crucial for patients’ health and wellbeing.
Additionally, no-shows are a significant financial burden for healthcare facilities. Non-emergency
medical transportation programs have been utilized to get Medicaid beneficiaries to their
appointments when no other option is available. Recently, ride-hailing services such as Uber
and Lyft have launched their own transportation services for patients. While these programs and
services have been beneficial, uptake by healthcare facilities has been hindered by financial,
legal, and operational barriers. Our proposal seeks to create a decision-support platform called
Transportation 360 (T360) for healthcare facility administrators to formulate a transportation
strategy that is patient-centered, financially viable and aligned with existing workflow. This digital
tool will generate recommendations for patient transportation options and an implementation
roadmap based on state and federal legal and regulatory requirements (such as the Federal
Anti-Kickback Statute the Civil Monetary Penalty Rules Regarding Beneficiary Inducements) as
well as a healthcare facility’s budget and patient characteristics (obtained through data securely
transmitted via electronic medical records or self-reported by an administrator in a
questionnaire). Factors taken into account in the recommendations will include each
transportation service’s geographic availability, pricing model, cancellation fees, experience
working with safety-net healthcare facilities, implementation support, ability to integrate with
electronic medical records, reporting capabilities, modes of communication with patients,
languages supported, and technical support provided. Characteristics of the healthcare facility
(e.g., location, number of sites, target metrics of success, hourly wages of relevant staff),
patients (e.g., familiarity with texting or smartphones, no-show rates) and payers (proportion of
patients with each type of insurance and reimbursement rates offered by those insurers) will
also be considered. Our team will compile a knowledge base to be used with features including
a return on investment calculator, an interactive compliance checklist, and an operations
planner. A state-by-state reimbursement claims form helper will be available to assist healthcare
facility managers with navigating the Medicaid claims reimbursement process to reduce
payment denials and errors. In Phase I, we will a) Conduct JTBD interviews with a diverse
sample of healthcare administrators and staff members who are representative of our intended
end-users; b) Develop a proof-of-concept prototype that is capable of showcasing the key
system functions (ROI Calculator, Compliance Checklist, and Operations Planner) and reflects
the end-user requirements gathered from the JTBD interviews; and c) Demonstrate the
feasibility of using T360 to support staff’s decision-making regarding transportation offerings. In
Phase II, we will expand T360 into a minimum viable product (MVP), implement a 12-month
rollout at participating facilities, and assess the impact on patient attendance, NEMT claim
submission, and successful NEMT reimbursement.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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