MetroHealth is teaming up with a technology company to help connect health and social care providers with access to referrals for people struggling with housing, food insecurity, employment and more.
This builds on MetroHealth's commitment to integrate such information into its electronic medical record. New York-based technology company Unite Us has developed a shared electronic resource referral platform that allows efficient electronic referrals to and between social service organizations in order to meet needs and also track the outcomes, according to a news release.
The software combines person-centered care coordination and hands-on community engagement for health systems, social service organizations and government agencies, according to the release. It integrates into MetroHealth's electronic health records in an effort to improve individual and community health.
The tool, which is a "significant" multiyear investment by MetroHealth, will be available to community-based organizations at no cost, according to the release. MetroHealth is not currently releasing the investment amount.
"This partnership allows us to help provide connections to social services for the people in our community who need it — and allow us to track and measure if it is making a difference," MetroHealth president and CEO Dr. Akram Boutros said in a provided statement. "This will enable all of the community's health and social service agencies to work together efficiently and transparently. We believe our partnership with Unite Us will make our community healthier."
Social determinants of health and factors that occur outside the walls of a medical facility — including safe housing, adequate food, socialization, employment and transportation — account for up to 80% of a person's health. COVID-19 has exacerbated those factors for many, according to the release.
To ensure the system is meeting community needs, MetroHealth's Institute For H.O.P.E. will help onboard social service agencies, develop referral networks and analyze data.
"We need to see the full picture of our patients and their lives, beyond our walls, so we can identify and help eliminate potential barriers to their health and well-being," Institute For H.O.P.E. president Susan Fuehrer said in a provided statement. "We must find and fix the root causes of health disparities in our region. Unite Us will help MetroHealth and the Institute For H.O.P.E. to identify and address these health disparities in an even more efficient and effective way."
Unite Us was selected following a communitywide process led by Better Health Partnership, Center for Health Affairs, Case Western Reserve University and United Way, along with other hospital systems and nonprofit organizations, according to the release.
"MetroHealth partners with tech company to connect health and social care" originally appeared in Crain's Cleveland Business.