The past two decades have seen an increase in conversations regarding social determinants of health, defined by the World Health Organization as ‘conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work, and age’.1
The momentum came as more and more stakeholder organizations recognized the crucial role that housing, transportation, access to education, healthcare, job opportunities and resources, and other non-clinical factors play in a person’s health.
Understanding these social determinants gives providers a complete picture of the person’s life and circumstances, helping them plan and provide optimal care.
Access to a complete picture of a person’s health is key to enhanced clinical care coordination, reduced duplicate medical testing and procedures, improved billing accuracy, increased patient safety, and greater patient and provider satisfaction. Because socioeconomic and behavioral forces heavily influence the health of individuals, collating a comprehensive view of one’s needs is critical to achieving value-driven, community-based outcomes. (Aroditis, 2018)2
To meet a person’s needs holistically means to break down the silos that run across health, human, and social services — organizations that are already providing care within their sphere. It means creating a network that can coordinate these organizations to ensure the vulnerable population’s support system.
Building a network requires care coordination, data collection, and starting from the ground up, a lot of dedication and hard work.
Fortunately, Dan Brillman and Taylor Justice have created the platform needed to scale social determinants of health and optimize care.
Dan Brillman and Taylor Justice are co-founders of Unite Us, an outcome-focused technology company facilitating collaborative care and data-sharing between health care, government, and social services.
“What we are doing is getting organizations that serve the same client across health care, government, and social services to effectively coordinate. That means sharing client data across sectors so that they can simultaneously work together around a shared client that has multiple means going on,” Dan said in our podcast interview.
He further explained, “From that point of view, what that requires is a technology that can stretch across these sectors and allow each type of organization –a provider, a payer, a government service and a broad range of social services–to effectively, electronically refer to each other, track and communicate back and forth bidirectionally and most specifically, track the distinct services provided in the outcomes that are being delivered outside the four walls of each organization.”
Unite Us enables real-time coordination, allowing providers to track the person’s health journey, and record outcomes across a full range of services. This technology allows for effective and secure data-sharing between organizations. It connects people to the right agencies that can meet their needs across health and social care.
As a U.S. Veteran, Taylor experienced the inefficiencies of connecting to employment and education. This pain point directed him to be involved in a non-profit organization where he saw the gaps across health, human, and social service.
Dan, still active in the service, is passionate about helping veterans.
Together, these two co-founded Unite Us in 2013 with the intention to solve a real problem in the veteran community.
Taylor shared, “We didn’t start as a health care I.T. company. We started off in the community trying to solve a real problem, which was: there were significant barriers to accessing care. And this is not just health care. This is those human and social service needs, education, employment, housing, finance.”
It was not easy. Dan said that they started with the right but the hardest framework. They had to get 40 organizations to agree on a standard of data-sharing between each other. It means defining terms, agreeing on outcomes, and creating a trusted and secure framework — all that took almost a year.
Seven years later, the company has transformed and is serving beyond the veteran population. Unite Us has active networks in 35 states, making it the leading care coordination and outcome tracking software connecting healthcare and social services.
There was a time when the answer to providing resources in the community was to offer a resource directory for people to independently search, reach out, and travel to providers – with hope of getting services.
Dan and Taylor quickly figured out that it was not the right solution. Aside from getting no accountability from the other end to prove if people received the care they needed, their fellow veterans informed them that the system did not work.
By focusing on solving the end user’s pain points, they built the right product and created value for all of the different stakeholders.
Unite Us partners with community-based organizations that understand the local barriers and dynamics, ensuring that they keep a close watch on everyone’s delivery of care and outcome.
Whether you are a provider, a payer, or a community health worker, you will find great insights and impact by coordinating care with Unite Us.
Listen to my full interview with Dan Brillman and Taylor Justice here: https://outcomesrocket.health/unite-us/2020/06/
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Wesley Gilson Senior Director of MR Business Development at
Siemens Healthineers North America