The smart utilization of data has transformed nearly every sector of American life, from the way we do business to the entertainment we consume. But it’s also a major driver in health care. The right data, in the hands of the right people — and the right organizations — may mean interventions in care that can not only improve individual health, but the health of a community.
“The needs of communities are as diverse as the communities themselves, and in order to best impact their health outcomes, we are creating approaches that are rooted in data and also reflect the perspectives of the people that live and work in the community,” said Catherine Anderson, senior vice president of policy and strategy, UnitedHealthcare Community & State. “UnitedHealthcare is well-positioned to bring the right partners together to align primary and behavioral health with social needs, creating initiatives that not only improve health outcomes but also provide for equitable care for all.”
“The needs of communities are as diverse as the communities themselves, and in order to best impact their health outcomes, we are creating approaches that are rooted in data and also reflect the perspectives of the people that live and work in the community.”
Catherine Anderson, senior vice president of policy and strategy, UnitedHealthcare Community & State
Data itself, however, is not enough. That’s why community partners and leaders on-the-ground are critical to understanding the true challenges in their communities. One way to approach this has been to bring many partners to the same table, to listen and learn from one another. For example, UnitedHealthcare’s Catalyst program convenes a wide range of partners across different sectors to develop joint health goals. It then brings UnitedHealthcare and its partners’ capabilities and expertise to tackle the specific health needs of each community. So far, UnitedHealthcare Catalyst encompasses 23 community partnerships, with 10 focused on public housing authorities.
UnitedHealthcare is engaging with a multitude of entities, including:
- Public housing agencies (PHAs)
- Federally qualified health centers (FQHCs)
- Community-based organizations (CBOs)
Each has a mutual commitment to serve as a catalyst to close gaps in care, address health equity challenges and encourage a greater positive health impact in local communities.
By analyzing anonymized claims data, health care utilization and firsthand information from community members, UnitedHealthcare and its partners are able to understand and identify the most pressing health challenges. Then they can work together to develop a collaborative community plan to address the needs — and eventually, track progress and outcomes, which is a crucial aspect of the initiative. The interventions are customized to the community and may include programs with trauma-informed care trainings, virtual services, multilingual educational materials, and social services support.
To date, the priority challenges identified include:
- Food insecurity
- Health disparities such as health literacy and maternal and women’s health
- Behavioral and mental health
- Access to health care
- Chronic disease and diabetes management
Using data, this UnitedHealthcare Catalyst initiative is one part of an ongoing effort by UnitedHealthcare to advance health equity, address health disparities, close gaps in care and expand access to care to all. The company is investing in programs and partnerships focused on housing, food, transportation, maternal health, and social isolation. This includes more than $550 million in affordable housing investments, recent philanthropic grants of more than $5 million to support maternal health and $80 million to fight the pandemic and support populations disproportionately impacted by Covid-19. The company’s 2020 Sustainability Report details its commitments to helping ensure it meets the needs of those it serves, including closing 600 million gaps in care by the end of 2025.
It’s in the conjunction of these various initiatives, along with the close collaboration with partners, that can yield huge results in the health of communities around the country.
For more information, visit www.uhccommunityandstate.com.