Originally published on LyftBusiness.com  


Patient flow at Alameda Health System’s Highland Hospital was chronically slow because many patients lacked transportation home or to the next stage of their care. The problem contributed to extremely long emergency room wait times and overcapacity.


Royal Care Connect provides reliable, on-demand transportation for ambulatory patients across the health system by implementing Lyft Concierge in its call center.


  • 50% reduction in emergency room diversion rates, as a result of improved patient flow (Source: Alameda County Emergency Medical Services Agency)
  • $400,000 in annual health system savings for ambulatory transportation, compared to using taxi vouchers
  • 73% reduction in no shows from ambulatory care clinics

The solution to a hospital patient flow problem? Better access to transportation for ambulatory patients.

Royal Care Connect started as an ambulance company serving California’s Bay Area. It has evolved into a managed transportation hub that helps hospitals run more efficiently while putting the focus squarely onto human-centric, value-based patient care.

As the healthcare industry recognizes the central role that the patient experience plays in health outcomes, Royal Care Connect leaders are elevating that experience in innovative ways—from redesigning ambulance interiors, to streamlining hospital patient flow.


In 2012, The Waiting Room, an award-winning documentary, brought problems at Alameda Health System’s Highland Hospital in Oakland to international attention. The hospital was known for extremely long emergency room (ER) wait times and what’s called diversion—a state where the ER redirected ambulances to other hospitals because it was over capacity.

Patient flow was part of the problem. Many patients were unable to leave the hospital because they didn’t have a ride home or to the next stage in their care. Transportation was a major barrier for the public hospital’s many low-income, housing-insecure patients.

Hospital case managers struggled to coordinate discharge rides. The process was chaotic and stressful for patients, who often had trouble getting to primary care center visits, as well — a problem that contributed to the ER’s overcapacity.

The Opportunity

Royal Care Connect incorporated rideshare into its medical transportation solution for Alameda Health System. The company would act as a central hub for patient transportation needs—from ambulatory, to wheelchair-accessible, to basic life support and critical care.

After considering rideshare options, Royal Care Connect partnered with Lyft Business because of the company’s expertise in the healthcare space.

The Solution

Today, Royal Care Connect has helped improve the way patients flow through Alameda Health System facilities. The customer success team simply inserted Lyft Concierge into the call center workflow, eliminating the need for training or account management for hospital or clinic staff.

With a single phone call, patient case managers can schedule transportation for all levels of patient needs. Ambulatory patients can use their smartphones to see a map and their Lyft driver’s estimated time of arrival. Royal Care Connect works with its health system partners and Lyft to customize processes that work for patients who don’t have smartphones.

Royal Care Connect also gives patients the option of flexible rides. After appointments, they can make trips to the pharmacy or the lab and then click on a link when they’re ready to request a ride home.