Midland’s leading healthcare providers have entered into technology-based partnerships to address the unmet health and social needs of those they serve. In April, Lexington Medical Center announced a partnership with Unite Us, a New York-based software company that establishes a coordinated care network between healthcare and social service providers. Founded in 2013, the company was originally created to serve the needs of veterans returning to civilian life and their families. Over the next decade, it expanded its reach to serve people from all walks of life who needed a connection to care.
According to recent data on the company’s website, Unite Us is now present in 44 states, and over the past decade, it has provided more than 21 million connections to care. Known as Unite South Carolina, Partners in the Company’s South Carolina Network Partner with Unite. A shared technology platform, connected through As’s services, will enable people to securely send and receive electronic referrals to meet their social needs, said Lara Lott Moore, Vice President of Regional Medical Centers at Lexington Medical Center.
Lexington Medical Center is a 607-bed hospital in West Columbia that supports a medical network that includes five regional medical centers and employs more than 7,800 medical professionals. Thomas Terfel, regional support manager for Lexington Medical, said the partnership is the result of a survey of medical trends that the provider has conducted since the end of 2021. One of the prominent topics was the impact of social determinants on an individual’s overall healthcare, which includes environmental factors, access to fresh and healthy food, transportation, housing, and access to primary health care.
Lexington city officials wanted to find ways to help patients address some of these issues in their lives after they leave the hospital. Unite Us is a cloud-based network that enables Lexington Medical’s social workers to research individual patient needs and seamlessly connect them with resources within the community that can help them.
For example, those dealing with food insecurity can connect with community resources such as the Harvest Hope Food Bank and other food pantries. The platform also provides a way for social workers to follow up and review the progress of referred patients. The system enables patients to receive a wide range of assistance, from assistance with food, housing, and utilities, to skill-building in mental health care, employment, financial planning, and more.
Unite Us’ security protocols ensure that only hospitals and participating non-profits have access to their clients’ services, ensuring that information is kept strictly confidential. Another benefit is that Unite Us’ information is real-time, so social workers can avoid the possibility of giving patients outdated information or sending them to institutions that aren’t accepting new clients.
Automated referrals also allow patients to focus on their health and recovery without the additional burden of visiting multiple institutions. There is no cost for nonprofits and community service organizations to participate in this program. This program is funded by hospitals and other for-profit organizations in the area. The platform also provides an easy way for health and social workers to collect and track data to see which social determinants have the most impact on community health.
Lexington Medical Center is currently working to increase the number of organizations joining the Unite Us platform. “He is very excited to be working with Lexington Medical Center,” said Liz He Walsh, Uniteous’ Director of Customer and Community Success. “Their team is dedicated to connecting patients with the resources they need, beyond the walls of the hospital. Unite Us’ software empowers this incredible team to scale their impact. Neighbors in need in the Lands community will benefit most from this important partnership.” More information on Unite Us’ statewide impact can be found online.