University Hospitals is partnering with Unite Us, a New York-based technology company that runs a platform to help connect patients with needed services and resources.
Factors such as housing, food, transportation and employment can be some of the most important for patients' overall well-being and also some of the most difficult to navigate and secure, according to a news release.
Unite Us manages the Unite Ohio network platform, which connects health and social organizations and facilitates referrals among them. It is composed of community partners, including, according to the release, local and regional businesses, community organizations, faith-based organizations, other local healthcare organizations and schools.
The Unite Ohio platform was launched in 2020 in partnership with MetroHealth. Cleveland Clinic announced a partnership with Unite Us in 2021.
With UH's partnership announcement, all three systems have partnered with Unite Ohio to provide services to their patients outside of clinical needs. The Clinic, MetroHealth and UH social workers now collaborate on the Unite US platform to track patients and communications between the social workers, according to a UH spokesperson.
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"We know that the majority of health outcomes depend on factors beyond the walls of a hospital – food insecurity, housing, and social isolation," said Dr. Peter Pronovost, UH Chief Quality and Clinical Transformation Officer, in a provided statement. "University Hospitals is excited for this partnership and opportunity to connect every patient to organizations that address these social determinants of health."
Through the UH and Unite Us collaboration, UH patients in need can benefit from a secure, central point of contact where healthcare providers, social service organizations and individuals can access and refer people services while monitoring progress and measuring outcomes, according to the release.
Unite Us will be available in all Ohio counties where UH has a presence, but UH Lake Health clinicians won't participate until 2023 when they are technologically integrated into the UH system, according to the release.
"We are thrilled to partner with University Hospitals as we continue to expand the network to support individuals and connect them to much-needed resources," said Toni Cunningham, Unite Us State Network Director for Ohio, in a provided statement. "Our team works collaboratively to support and train network partners that coordinate care no matter where in the state people live. Our goal is to increase equitable access to care and services."
This story first appeared in our sister publication, Crain's Cleveland Business.