In a recent report prepared for the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS), networks powered by Unite Us were featured as examples of how community networks can effectively address social needs and improve lives. The study, titled Social Determinants of Health Data Sharing at the Community Level, was conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago—an independent, non-partisan research institution that aims to help guide policy decisions.
Our national networks, which span over 3,000 counties across 42 states leverage a common infrastructure and standards to connect health and social care. There is a growing need and interest in creating coordinated social care networks from multiple stakeholder types including state government, community-based organizations, health information exchanges, health care providers and plan, and philanthropy.
The four Unite Us-powered networks included in the report demonstrate our cross-sector approach to building these coordinated networks, the power of our technology, as well as our commitment to on-the-ground community partnership.
NCCARE360 is a statewide network available in all 100 counties in North Carolina. The initiative uses Unite Us as its shared technology platform to seamlessly send and track referrals and track health outcomes. The NORC study called out NCCARE360 as a successful use case in implementing a referral outcomes platform, and highlighted the integrations between NCCARE360 and other platforms such as EHRs in North Carolina, which will further expand NCCARE360’s reach and coordination capacity.
United Communityis a network of more than 150 organizations in Jefferson County, Kentucky, and Floyd and Clark counties in southern Indiana. Frontline staff and case managers in these communities use the Unite Us Platform to refer clients to a variety of social services, including staff at Jefferson County Public Schools who are able to connect children with community resources. Authors of the NORC report interviewed several partners within the network who praised the Unite Us team’s on-the-ground approach to onboarding new organizations. Stakeholders also cited the Unite Us Platform as a catalyst for making new connections with organizations that were previously siloed. Additionally, the study found that Metro United Way, which serves as a convener for community-based organizations (CBOs) in the area, uses the data generated by the network to monitor service quality and provide support for making improvements.
“Early on, referrals could take as long as 16 days to be accepted; now it takes less than one day. Partners were involved in developing network standards, so Metro United Way feels there is joint ownership and accountability across the platform, which means the data being captured are robust.”
CyncHealth is the health information exchange program for the state of Nebraska. Unite Us partnered with CyncHealth in September 2020 to launch the Unite Nebraska network, which uses the Unite Us Platform’s closed loop referral system to offer clients community-based resources such as employment support, nutrition services, and housing. The NORC study reported that CyncHealth is building upon its success and expanding into additional domains, including stress, material hardship, and financial strain.
The Alliance for Better Health is a regional network of social service organizations serving Albany, Fulton, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, and Schenectady counties in New York State. Recognizing that many people living in these communities were dealing with unmet food, housing, and transportation needs, the Alliance partnered with Unite Us to create the Healthy Together network, which connects more than 100 organizations to better address those previously unmet social needs.
The NORC report attributes part of the success of Healthy Together to the robust technical support and training program Unite Us provides when new CBOs join the network. Consciously integrating the Unite Us Platform into an organization’s established workflow helps ensure successful adoption of the technology, the study found.
“Network participants that have integrated Unite Us into their workflows commented on the value of the closed-loop referral process. In addition, some CBOs have seen a clear increase in referrals to their organization after joining the network. Since April 2018, Healthy Together has helped network participants manage over 15,000 service episodes.”
Together with our partners in these four networks and across all our networks, our goal remains clear and simple: partner with communities to deliver a person-centered care coordination platform and a hands-on community engagement process to ensure services are seamlessly delivered to the people who need them most. Unite Us is honored to be recognized for both our technology and people in this report. We are committed to improving people’s lives and that starts with our focus on community relationships.