Non-Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT) is a critical service available for individuals who would otherwise not be able to get to important medical appointments. Access to transportation plays an important role in maintaining an individual’s health, and whether it is due to physical limitations or other circumstances, standard fixed-route public transportation may not always be available or the best option for these individuals.
However, with the NEMT options that are available, transportation is still able to keep these individuals connected to their healthcare providers and able to attend their appointments on a regular basis in a cost-effective and convenient way.
Paratransit & Demand Response
Among some of the most useful NEMT options available are paratransit and demand response or dial-a-ride services. Riders are able to schedule a pickup at their home or another predetermined and convenient location in advance based on their scheduled appointments and typically only have to pay a small fee per ride. This is crucial for these riders because they may not have fixed-route public transportation located near them, or they may run into the first and/or last mile issue using these public transportation routes to and from their appointments. NEMT eliminates those obstacles and still allows them the medical access they need to maintain their health.
One of the most important features of paratransit and dial-a-ride vehicles is the ability to accommodate disabled or senior riders needing wheelchairs or other special accommodations, which is not always feasible or available in standard fixed-route public transportation or other NEMT options that are sometimes being used like Uber or Lyft.
Paratransit Software & NEMT
Advanced technology, such as paratransit software, is taking Non-Emergency Medical Transportation services to the next-level for riders in need. With the ability to make updates in real-time, riders and transportation agencies alike are seeing the benefits:
Real-time Schedule OptimizationWith automatic assignment and dispatching for trips, agencies are ensured operational efficiency and the ability to schedule based on least-cost provider, most efficient routing, or a combination of the two and riders are ensured that they will always be put on the best route so they can get to their appointments in a timely fashion.
Fleet ManagementWith the ability for the software to respond automatically to road conditions such as weather, congestion, and vehicle breakdowns, riders can be assured that no unforeseen circumstances will affect their ability to get to their appointment, and they can ride safely and stress-free.
ReportingWith extensive reporting capabilities, agencies can gain visibility into operational efficiencies and inefficiencies alike and can also keep track of exact pickup/drop off times and location through a provider portal in order to make any necessary adjustments and continuously improve agency processes to better serve riders.
Customer ServiceUltimately, paratransit software boosts customer service for riders using Non Emergency Medical Transportation by optimizing their trip routes, tracking driver behavior and vehicle status for safety, and giving riders the ability to track their ride and communicate with the driver and dispatcher directly about any changes that may come up last-minute.
Non Emergency Medical Transportation options like paratransit and dial-a-ride services coupled with advanced technology, like paratransit software, are greatly improving the quality of life for the riders that require it. Ultimately, public transportation exists to connect and serve our communities, and NEMT is another extension of the transit industry that exists to do just that for passengers.
About the Author
Read Ecolane's blog articles for perspective, opinion and information on transit and paratransit issues.