Spartanburg Regional Foundation funds innovation to 'Unite' patients to community partners

June 12th, 2024

Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System strives to meet patients’ needs beyond a doctor’s visit.

The social determinants of health have been shown to have a greater influence on health than either genetic factors or access to healthcare services. Social determinants are the non-medical factors that influence health outcomes. They are the conditions in which people are born, grow, work, live and age, and the wider set of forces and systems shaping the conditions of daily life. These include economic stability, access and quality of education, access and quality of health care, safety, and resources available in neighborhoods and built environments. 

Spartanburg Regional is establishing stronger connections between healthcare and community partners to actively address the social determinants impacting patients.   

The Spartanburg Regional Foundation recently provided a three-year grant for $210,000 to the healthcare system to implement Unite Us, a software platform used to collaborate across various sectors of the community and to connect patients to local organizations that provide resources such as transportation, food, housing and finances, and much more. 

Spartanburg Regional’s goal is to have a tool in patient care with a greater connection to resources that can satisfy needs following a hospitalization or medical appointment. Since social determinants play a significant role in health outcomes for patients, Unite Us will serve as a coordinated care network with cross-sector partners from health care, government and nonprofits connecting through shared software. These partners will use Unite Us to securely identify and deliver services that address the needs of individuals within our communities. 

Unite Us is the nation's leading software company enabling collaboration across sectors to improve the health and well-being of communities. Unite Us' secure solutions establish a new standard of care that identifies social care needs, helps connect people to services, and leverages meaningful outcomes data to further drive community investment. 

The pilot will initially launch with three departments: AccessHealth, Inpatient Case Management and Regional HealthPlus. Each of these groups will use Unite Us to make referrals and stay connected with what services individual patients have received or are still needing from community partners.   

Not only will this functionality improve how efficiently people are being connected with social needs and outside organizations, but the system will also help the community to better understand how essential service organizations may be overburdened or underutilized. 

This new level of community coordination is one way Spartanburg Regional’s mission is put into practice. By creating a network of connectivity between healthcare providers and community-based resources – all for the health and wellness of patients – Spartanburg Regional is working to advance health together. 

Unite Us provides the closed-loop platform needed to make referrals to existing community-based organizations equipped to address each patient's identified needs. 

Staying connected to wrap-around care 

This referral network will benefit patients struggling with chronic health conditions who also have difficulties with transportation, finances or access to housing or healthy food options, and much more. 

With the touch of a button, a provider can send a referral to an outside organization requesting assistance with housing or food or a myriad of other needs. That organization is then encouraged to respond within 48 hours to complete the closed-loop referral process. 

“This software is exactly what our health system needs, a valuable tool that prioritizes cross-sector collaboration to align with our health system’s efforts,” said Carey Rothschild, system director of community health policy & strategy for Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System. “I am thankful for Spartanburg Regional Foundation’s instrumental support to make this a reality and put patient care first.” 

“Our commitment to transforming care delivery, fostering innovation, and supporting our customers’ and community partners’ missions to efficiently care for their patients as one connected community remain our top priorities,” said Dan Brillman, co-founder and CEO at Unite Us. 

A ‘game-changer’ 

Unite Us is a particularly valuable tool in supporting our most vulnerable populations such as uninsured and underinsured individuals. 

AccessHealth Spartanburg coordinates care for low-income and uninsured people to health care and other services for assistance. Adding the Unite Us platform as a tool will help strengthen AccessHealth’s ability to connect and provide the appropriate level of care for others. 

“AccessHealth Spartanburg is thrilled to be able to utilize the Unite Us platform to assist our clients with confidential, closed-loop referrals to our community partners," said AccessHealth Spartanburg Director Staci Roberts. 

Roberts said AccessHealth depends heavily on ongoing relationships with community organizations that provide additional medical and social resources for clients. 

“Having a tool that provides an open line of communication to ensure our clients receive the services they need is a game-changer for AccessHealth, the system and our community,” Roberts said. 

The software’s integration within a variety of community partners will help healthcare providers prioritize the organizations that are doing things for the community that patients need the most. 

Through Unite Us, providers are easily able to make referrals for necessary services to build in things like food and transportation needs into a prescription and care plan for each patient. 

Dr. Marc Bingham, system chief clinical informatics officer, has been a physician in Spartanburg since 2002 and has seen firsthand the barriers to care and limitations the healthcare system has on true effectiveness with overall patient health when it comes to unaddressed social needs. 

He said in a grant application letter to the Foundation that the Unite Us software would close the loop on addressing patients’ needs effectively. Eighty percent of personal health status is tied to factors outside of the medical care we provide, Dr. Bingham said. 

“Access to transportation, nutritious foods, prescription medications and safe housing are all essential to the health of my patients and our community,” Dr. Bingham said. “Time is the one resource in medicine that we never have enough of – medical appointments are simply not long enough to address all the social needs for our patients. One way to improve that is to connect our patients more effectively and efficiently with resources that are already available in our community.” 

The referral network will also help the healthcare system determine which social services are underutilized or stretched too thin, which in turn helps the community have an additional data on which organizations need more resources to better serve the patient population. 

“Spartanburg Regional Foundation has been supporting community partners and healthcare priorities for over 30 years,” said Senior Director of Strategic Philanthropy Polly Edwards-Padgett. “This technology allows us to bridge together community and health care to improve health outcomes. This will not only support our patients' needs but provide insight on the community's philanthropic needs.” 

To learn more about the Unite Us software, go to Consider contributing to the Spartanburg Regional Foundation to support projects like this. Go to to learn more.

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