Papa and Uber Health team-up to address isolation among vulnerable populations

This partnership will meet patients and companions where they are today, advancing the companies' missions to address the needs of vulnerable Americans.

Papa Health

Papa, which pairs older adults and families with Papa Pals for companionship and assistance with everyday tasks, and Uber Health announced a nationwide partnership aimed at reducing barriers to transportation access and mitigating social isolation and negative health outcomes among America’s vulnerable populations.

Why does it matter?

Through this new partnership, Papa’s care team will coordinate between Uber Health and Pals to facilitate easy and stress-free transportation for Pal-supported medical appointments, errands, community events, and more. Papa Pals and members gain efficient access to transportation solutions, from the hundreds of thousands of drivers using Uber’s platform, and, importantly, more quality time with each other. Now, with Papa, Uber Health will help address social isolation, while also augmenting its health plan partnerships.

The partnership advances Papa’s ongoing work to scale its nationwide Pal network, and Papa’s and Uber Health’s shared missions to support population health among vulnerable communities. For example, the partnership enables Papa and Uber to join forces in supporting older Americans to live as they choose and at home.

By working closely with Papa, Uber Health is doubling down on its focus on communities often hit hardest by mobility accessibility issues. Since launching in 2018, Uber Health has worked alongside health care providers, non-emergency medical transportation brokers, and other organizations in the continuum of care to coordinate rides for those who need them most.

Transportation solutions will be available in any US market where Papa and the Uber app are available. Papa’s care coordinators can coordinate transportation for Papa members or Papa Pals directly through the Uber Health platform. Members and Papa Pals do not need to have a smartphone, credit card, or Uber app to take advantage of this partnership.

On the record

“Our national Uber Health partnership is about so much more than getting from A to B,” said Andrew Parker, Founder and CEO of Papa. “Companionship is a critical component to a successful transportation ride, especially for older adults. Together we are able to help members with rides while providing a great social interaction and assistance. It’s the perfect synergy.”

“Too often older adult populations are limited by barriers to care, whether it is due to transportation access or feelings of isolation from their communities and loved ones,” said Caitlin Donovan, Global Head of Uber Health. “Uber Health is uniquely positioned to provide its logistics platform and technology to make requesting transportation or deliveries easier for Papa members and Papa Pals. We’re proud to work with Papa to address the chronic needs of vulnerable populations and their companions, and in turn, improve long-term health outcomes.”

The context

As the older adult population continues to grow in the US, there are still critical gaps in care left by the traditional health care ecosystem. This population faces rising rates of social isolation and loneliness, with over half of older adults now considering themselves socially isolated since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Social isolation has comparable or greater risks of mortality than smoking up to 15 cigarettes per day, obesity, physical inactivity, and air pollution. As more Medicare, Medicaid, and employer health plans recognize the importance of addressing social determinants of health, including loneliness, Papa is becoming an increasingly common benefit offering.