MetroHealth and Unite Us Join Forces to Connect Health and Social Care across Cuyahoga County
The MetroHealth System has partnered with an innovative technology company to connect health care and social care providers through a shared electronic resource referral platform.
Building on MetroHealth’s commitment to integrating information such as whether a person is struggling with housing, food insecurity, employment and other factors into its electronic medical record, the Unite Us platform allows for efficient electronic referrals to and between social service organizations to meet those needs and track the outcomes.
New York-based Unite Us has developed software that combines person-centered care coordination and hands-on community engagement for health systems, social service organizations and government agencies – and seamlessly integrates into MetroHealth’s electronic health records – to meet the shared goal of improved individual and community health.
This is a significant, multi-year investment by MetroHealth, but the tool will be available to community-based organizations at no cost.
“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,” said MetroHealth President and CEO Akram Boutros, MD, FACHE. “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.”
MetroHealth is a national leader in tracking social determinants of health – the idea that up to 80% of a person’s health depends on factors that occur outside of the walls of a hospital or medical clinic. They include safe housing, adequate food, socialization, employment and transportation. COVID-19 has exacerbated these factors for so many across our county.
MetroHealth is the first hospital system in Ohio to partner with Unite Us. MetroHealth’s Institute For H.O.P.E.TM will help onboard social service agencies, develop referral networks and analyze data to make sure the hospital system is meeting the needs of our community.
“Improving the health of the community is the core of MetroHealth’s mission. Part of that means continuing to deliver excellent medical care. But we must also expand the reach of our care,” says Institute For H.O.P.E.TM President Susan Fuehrer. “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. 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.TM to identify and address these health disparities in an even more efficient and effective way.”
“MetroHealth has a strong network of longstanding community relationships and a well-established service model,” says Dan Brillman, CEO of Unite Us. “Unite Us brings a robust technology platform and local community engagement model to ensure we reach and serve those in need. Combining these strengths will super-charge the community’s ability to coordinate services, improve health, and measure impact across Greater Cleveland.”
The selection of Unite Us is the culmination of a community-wide process led by Better Health Partnership, Center for Health Affairs, CWRU, and United Way along with other hospital systems and nonprofit organizations.
Since committing to screening for social determinants of health, MetroHealth has screened over 10,000 patients and connected many with social service referrals. Screenings showed the top three risks for our patients are social isolation (47% at high risk) , food insecurity (40% at high risk) and lack of physical activity (39% at high risk). Now the system will be able to monitor the results and impact of those referrals.
Founded in 1837, MetroHealth is leading the way to a healthier you and a healthier community through service, teaching, discovery, and teamwork. Cuyahoga County’s public, safety-net hospital system, MetroHealth meets people where they are, providing care through four hospitals, four emergency departments, and more than 20 health centers and 40 additional sites. Each day, our 8,000 employees focus on providing our community with equitable health care–through patient-focused research, access to care, and support services–that seeks to eradicate health disparities rooted in systematic barriers. For more information, visit metrohealth.org.