Flip No. 81

Community Health Workers Drive Medical Transport Vehicles

Trained Drivers Better Support Patients—Without Requiring Patients to Make One More Appointment.

By Mini Oo and Jen Schnabel

Developed at Flip the Clinic Lab: Minneapolis

Medical transport service drivers get an intimate glimpse into the lives of the people they pick up. They see a patient’s neighborhood, their house, and from the conversation on the way to the clinic, get a more informal account of how the patient is doing. But drivers don’t have any formal arrangement with the social workers or the clinicians that look after a person’s care. If they see a broken screen door week after week, that information doesn’t get passed to someone who can help.

Medical transport drivers should have access to training that would teach them how to be community health workers. As they drove, the workers could gather patient information passively, taking note of any visible problems at home or anything mentioned during the ride to the appointment. Then the driver would pass that information to clinic nurses and social workers, who would note it in patient files and follow up with the patient later. The goal is to have a more fluid support system for patients—one that meets patients where they are and provides a seamless connection to their care in the clinic.