SDoH, Data

The Impact of COVID-19: Data from our Social Care Networks

By Shadi Garman on May 18, 2020

Unite Us has built the most outcomes-focused, impact-driven social care platform in the country. Our intuitive and seamless technology, coupled with our experts working locally, is changing the traditional care delivery model to ensure a “no wrong door” approach for people seeking services. A Unite Us-powered network has always been focused on coordinating services between engaged and accountable organizations to ensure we’re going beyond the referral. Today, our networks span over 35 states, with community-based partners providing services in a coordinated and accountable ecosystem. In this time of crisis, our partners’ service delivery has not stopped. 

In New York City – which is, in many ways, one of the most impacted regions in the country – our network partners have maintained a 93% acceptance rate on all referrals during this time. They have continued to make electronic referrals, coordinate care, address critical needs, and serve the community.

Our platform tracks actual service delivery outcomes in the community – 100% of the time. 

At Unite Us, data means more than stylized Google analytics. When Unite Us and our partners speak about networks and data, we use the delivery of services (i.e. service episodes) and impact as key measures. Now, more than ever, we must focus on outcomes. The health and human services industry has rightfully shifted its focus to outcomes because that is the only way that we can collectively improve health and reduce costs of care.

 

That is why since 2013, we have been focused on a data standard that does not simply look at searches for resources, referrals defined as printouts of resources, or users that are only individuals searching a directory. Instead, our data illustrates actual service delivery between organizations who are engaged and part of a trusted network, and thus, electronically coordinating services together around shared clients.

 

Network partners access real-time metrics on individuals, outcomes, and network performance, but more importantly our local team members support our networks to take action on those insights to improve overall health. Unite Us data shines a light on the complex needs of the most vulnerable populations, and proves the impact of services being delivered. Robust and actionable data is critical to support the long-term recovery efforts from COVID-19. In the months ahead, we will continue to publicly share key metrics, trends, and insights from our networks to ensure we are making better decisions, investments, and choices to improve health and build a more equitable system for all.

 

Take a look at some of the key trends from the past two months.

 

A spike in COVID-19-related social needs for food assistance, income support, and individual and family services. 

 

Immediately after March 11, when the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic, our networks experienced a significant spike in demand for services. Subsequently there have been consistent, increased mentions of COVID-19 (defined as any of COVID, corona, SARS-CoV, pandemic, quarantine appearing in free-text fields in cases, referrals, and/or assistance requests) from network partners, suggesting the pandemic’s growing impact on social services. 

Total COVID-19 Mentions Found in Free-text Fields-2

In March, we saw over a 287% increase in electronic referrals for some of our most commonly requested services types – food assistance, income support, and individual and family services. This increase comes as no surprise, but it’s important to note that these are not searches from individuals in the community, but electronic referrals that have been made between network partners to address these specific needs. This fact highlights the value and accountability of services our partners are actually delivering. 

 

240% increase in food-related service episodes

 

At the end of March, the total number of unique services episodes related to food grew 240%. In response to this demand increase, our networks rose to the occasion and our team onboarded more providers who could support this growing need. Over the month of April, the number of unique network partners offering food-related services grew 125%. 

Demand for Food AssistanceNumber of Partners Actively Providing Food Assistance

 

214% spike in income support-related service episodes

 

From March 8th to March 22nd, the total number of unique services episodes related to income support grew 214%. Prior to COVID-19, about 44 million Americans had no health insurance, and over 38 million people were living in poverty. The need for income support will only continue to grow as people require support for needs such as SSI/SSD and Disability Benefits, TANF/Cash Assistance Programs, or Unemployment Insurance.

Demand for Income Support ServicesNumber of Partners Actively Providing Income Support Services

 

Delayed but steady increase in housing-related service episodes

 

From the half-million people in the U.S. experiencing homelessness to the 31% of U.S. tenants that did not pay April rent at the start of the month, housing is undoubtedly being impacted by COVID-19. Over the month of April, the total number of unique service episodes per week related to housing grew 137%. This is the highest number of housing-related service episodes across all networks in our company’s history. To respond to this need, the total number of unique network partners grew 124%

 

Demand for Housing Services Number of Partners Actively Providing Housing Services

 

What’s next? Using data to improve community-wide service delivery

 

As our team, clients, and partners navigate this new normal, our mission has never been more true and the need to get our platform in the hands of health and social care providers has never been more critical. Our networks are adapting and evolving to people's rapidly changing needs, and we are continuing to make enhancements to our platform to support the communities we serve. Our focus is to connect as many individuals in need to the quality services and organizations that are open to serve them. The overall trend that we have seen so far is a growing need for food, housing, income support, and individual and family services, with this data highlighting some of the service gaps that our local teams are working hand in hand with our partners to fill. 

 

We are building resilient public health infrastructure that eases the unprecedented burden our human and social service system is facing at this time. Unite Us is ready to help, and we’ve already begun.

Join us to build a solution for today, tomorrow, and the future:

Request a Demo

 

 

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