The difficulty of going to the doctor

I know a couple in their 90s who love to travel. They have been to every continent, including Antarctica. (I checked.)

They have mementos all around their home: a gallery of photos of zebra, lions and cheetah from an African safari. A display case stacked with elephants. I told them they have spent their golden years right and that I hope to see the world when I retire.

The woman looked at me with moist eyes.

When their health quickly declined, their world was reduced to their two-bedroom apartment. They have trouble leaving their home. Doctor’s appointments are a challenge. That’s worrisome because they have multiple health concerns that necessitates frequent visits to multiple providers.

The city’s Department of Aging only takes people to doctors within the city.

Their insurance only provides transportation to certain doctors and even then they could be stuck waiting for a ride for an hour.

Taxis are too expensive.

Going to the doctor shouldn’t be this difficult or require such extensive planning.

I read about two Indian startup companies, Medikoe and KickStart Cab, that are partnering offer package deals to help people plan long-term treatment and travel arrangements.

Medikoe has more than 250 healthcare partners who provide services. KickStart Cab has a fleet of vehicles with extra leg room that can accommodate wheelchairs, which fills a need in Indian public transportation. Drivers are also trained to help people get in and out of cabs and buildings.

“For any procedure, it never ends in one or two trips to the hospital,” says Sreevalsan Menon, founder and CEO of to the Times of India. “First people need to go for a consultation, then get diagnosed, have tests, scans done. Then another consultation and then finally the surgery scheduled. And even after that there will be post-operative care, trips to pharmacists, check-ups.”

He’s right. Coordinated care is a collaborative effort. These companies are meeting a real need for people who can otherwise fall through the crack.

Lyft recently announced a partnership with CareLinx. I hope the initiative gains traction and is the start of more outreach initiatives.

For now, I plan to visit the couple next month. I asked to look at some of their travel photo albums with the hope I could learn about the world and help them remember life beyond those four walls.


Topics: Activities