I’m getting sick of all the “[new startup name] is the [more prominent startup name] of [random industry]” descriptions that people like to throw around these days, but it’s hard to avoid that with a new startup called Stat. The three-person team demoed earlier today at Dreamit Ventures‘ Health Demo Day in Philadelphia, and long story short, they’ve created something that’s pretty much an Uber for medical transport.
When Stat co-founder and CEO Jason Ervin hit me with his pitch before presenting onstage at the World Cafe, it sounded too good to be true. On-demand ambulances? Why would anyone call 911 again?
It turned out that in my haste to bypass centralized emergency services, I had missed something crucial — the big difference between Stat and Uber is that Stat isn’t for people like you and me to use. Stat wants to furnish its iOS and Android apps to ambulance companies, medical transport fleets, hospitals, nursing homes — pretty much any organization that needs to shuttle patients back and forth on a regular basis. Let’s say you’re nurse and you need to discharge a patient and get him home. That’s no problem if they’ve got a ride from a friend or family set up in advance, but if it happens to fall through, you can’t just stick them in a cab and call it day.
Instead, you fire up the Stat app, tie it to a corporate credit card, select the sort of transport you need, and select the pickup point and destination. Once the request is out there, the closest idle, Stat-enabled ambulance will get the alert and can accept the job — then the person who put in the request can track the ambulance while it’s en route.
The process works for organizations that need to send people to hospitals, too — nursing homes for instance often need to shuttle residents to medical facilities and not all of them can afford to maintain a fleet of vehicles just for that. Enter Stat: after a few touches, the nearest idle ambulance will be en route to make the pickup and drop those people off as needed. It’s a win-win: idle ambulances (and the companies that own them) get more work, and people who otherwise would’ve been stuck at a facility or turned away outright can get their procedures done and get home safely.
As it happens, the service may get a lot more Uber-like in the months to come. There’s no consumer-facing version of the app just yet, but that could change once Stat starts expanding beyond Philadelphia.
“We just can’t wait to get to an emergency,” Ervin said. It’s hardly a surprise — the four-month old company is already generating revenue based off its operations in Philadelphia, and expanding to consumer emergency calls means more transactions to take a cut of. Here’s the thing about Philadelphia, though: if you’re involved in an accident and need immediate emergency attention, you can’t directly call an ambulance company. It’s 911 or nothing. Naturally, that means the prospect of an Uberesque ambulance service won’t fly in the City of Brotherly Love, but that sort of regulation doesn’t exist everywhere.
Currently, Stat has linked up with one prominent Philadelphia ambulance company and is working to rack up a few more partnerships in the area, but one of the team’s big goals is to tap into their native Texas. Cities like Austin and Houston lack that particular restriction, so it would be easy enough to rejigger the app for regular folks to use, too. As downright useful as Stat could be for streamlining hospital operations, bringing quick and timely medical transport to the masses is something really worth keeping an eye out for.