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Hackensack Meridian partners with Lyft, invests in two biotech startups

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Hackensack Meridian Health has partnered with Lyft to launch a digital ride-share “command center” to provide on-demand, non-emergency medical transportation for patients who miss medical appointments due to transportation problems.

HMH also announced that its $25 million health care innovation fund made its first two investments in startup medical technology companies.

Both announcements were made during HMH’s annual meeting on May 16, which drew more than 800 trustees, community members, physicians, team members and company partners.

HMH began a partnership with Lyft three months ago with a pilot program for JFK Medical Center in Edison, which HMH recently acquired. In the program, JFK Medical used Lyft’s digital, centralized ride-share command center to provide on-demand, non-emergency medical transportation for patients who have difficulty getting medical care due to transportation issues, rather than simply giving vouchers to patients for taxi rides.

JFK Medical was able to reduce transportation costs by 25 percent in three months partnering with Lyft. With Lyft’s technology, patient rides can be requested in seconds.

Under the partnership, each of HMH’s 16 hospitals will be digitally mapped with designated pick-up and drop-off locations to help drivers and patients find one another, with the goal of having the centralized command center connect Lyft to patients, care coordinators and providers.

HMH co-CEOs Robert Garrett and John Lloyd also announced that the innovation fund made an investment in a portable monitor that will help better track vitals for congestive heart failure patients to prevent unnecessary hospitalization.

Garrett noted during the meeting that 25 percent of heart failure patients nationally are readmitted within 30 days of discharge. Wearable monitors will help doctors keep track of patients and foresee heart problems before they become serious, thus reducing the risk of readmission.

The other innovation is a health hub for the home – a small device that dispenses the proper dose of medication at the right time and allows patients to talk to their physicians via videoconference.

“We’re really breaking new ground here with these amazing innovations,’’ Garrett said during the meeting.

The innovation fund’s panel is comprised of venture capitalists, a patent attorney, network financial experts and physicians, as well as Garrett and Lloyd.

Garrett and Lloyd also recapped many HMH’s activities during 2017: the scheduled opening of the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine at Seton University in July, the acquisition of JFK Health, a proposed partnership with Carrier Clinic and a partnership with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center which will result in the opening of a jointly operated outpatient center.

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Vince Calio

Vince Calio

Vince Calio covers health care and manufacturing for NJBIZ. You can contact him at vcalio@njbiz.com.

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