As reported by The Boston Globe, Uber was recently found delivering flu shots to people in 36 states.
The experiment lasted just four hours. According to the Globe, UberHEALTH was developed by John S. Brownstein, PhD, an associate professor at Harvard Medical School and chief innovation officer for Boston Children’s Hospital. Brownstein contacted Uber last year with the idea, suggesting that Uber could make a difference by making vaccines available to 18-49-year-old people, a group that generally has low vaccination rates. Uber piloted the program last year in four cities.
"The concept of bringing on-demand services…bringing physicians and nurses to people has so many opportunities," Dr. Brownstein told the Globe.
From 11AM to 3PM, UberHEALTH was listed as an option on the Uber app with a popup ad that read, “Get one $10 wellness pack and a registered nurse will offer free flu shots for up to 10 people." Uber drivers offered other giveaways as part of the program, including hand sanitizer and complimentary water bottle.
Uber has made no formal announcement about the initiative or its whether it intends to expand the program in the future.
Our Take: Uber has the infrastructure to deliver many home services, from home health to pizza deliveries. But that begs the question as to whether the nascent company would stray so far from its core competency as a competitive driver service. Our bet is that experiment is more about generating positive PR than signaling an intent to diversify its service portfolio.