I would first make sure I understand the scope of this question.
Lyft wants to break into the private ambulance market. From my understanding, private ambulances:
1. Usually aren’t called by the end user and are instead usually contracted either by the hospital or through 911. (I may be wrong, but I would ask for clarification).
2. Private ambulances usually require an EMT, the car, and necessary equipment on board
3. Possibly requires some sort of licensing with the state or city they operate in
4. Are prohibitively expensive and would therefore have to include some sort of insurance company tie-in
I am going to make the assumption that Lyft wants to build a product to allow both the patient and the emergency personnel to hail an ambulance.
So I identified the users in this case being hospitals/doctors/911/emergency services, the private ambulance, and the patient themselves or loved ones of the patient. I would like to focus on the experience on the patient hailing the emergency vehicle themselves if that’s okay. Because mainly I believe this would be the main differentiator for Lyft to enter this industry as I do not personally know of another way for a patient themselves to hail an emergency vehicle short of calling 911 or the hospital.
The goal of the feature is to bring a patient to the nearest emergency room.
Next I want to delve into the user journey of calling a private ambulance. A user currently on Lyft will open their app and enter in a destination, select the type of ride experience they would like based off of price and wait for the car to arrive. In an emergency situation, a lot of this will need to be streamlined. I can identify some pain points:
1. An user who is very sick or very injured may not be primed to go through all the steps in the app
2. An user may not know where the nearest emergency room is
3. An user may want an easy way to contact loved ones in case of emergency
4. Emergency personnel may not know exactly how to reach the patient
5. An user may not know if he/she truly needs to be rushed to the hospital at this point in time
6. An user may still be in danger
7. An user may not know if their insurance will fully cover their ambulance ride
1. I think the easiest way to solve this painpoint would be to develop a SOS signal. If Lyft can integrate with the phone itself’s SOS signal that would be best, but perhaps if you open the Lyft app, we can add functionality where if you swipe right on the Set Pickup button, it will reveal a button for SOS or cancel. The goal here is to make sure that users won’t accidentally hit it, but still easy enough for an injured person to (or a loved one of the injured person).
2. Once an ambulance is called, Lyft will automatically find the nearest hospital with an emergency room.
3. We can add functionality into the app that allows a user to enter phone numbers of a loved one in case of emergency. Once SOS has been triggered, Lyft will automatically contact the emergency contact.
4. Phone GPS is usually the way for current cars to find their riders, but in case of emergency, we may not always know the best way to reach the patient. I can think of several potential solutions for this.
One, Lyft should be able to ascertain what kind of location the patient is currently in (whether it’s a building or the wilderness, etc).
Second, Lyft should be able to call the patient or the loved ones of a patient after a SOS is called just to make sure to gather more information on the location and health of the patient.
Third, if nobody picks up the phone, Lyft can ping the phone GPS again once the emergency personnel is near to make sure the location hasn’t changed. They can also play a high pitch noise from the phone when emergency personnel is close to physically be able to get closer to the patient.
5/6. Following closely with the previous point, once a SOS has been signaled, Lyft should have an emergency personnel with medical experience call the patient or the loved ones of the patient to walk them through the process. This will help Lyft understand if the patient should actually rush to the hospital or if police should be involved, etc.
7. Lyft can offer an option to enter the most updated insurance before/after the SOS is called and determine if insurance will cover the cost. This depends on the user, but knowing how complicate dinsurance is, Lyft will have to work with all the insurance companies to determine a easy solution to this problem.
Judging all the potential solutions, I go back to the goal of this question which is to get a patient from where they are at to the emergency room. I would say 1-6 are all very integral to the experience and should formulate a MVP. 7, while interesting, is not crucial to the health and safety of the patient.
To wrap it all together, I believe Lyft can break into the emergency ambulance market by offering users a more direct way to contact emergency personnel and get them to the hospital. They can do this by integrating a SOS signal into the app itself and maybe even through the Phone OS. Lyft can then provide all the services from contacting the patient, to ascertaining the location of patient, and to connecting the patient with an emergency vehicle.