The Better Together series highlights some of our most dynamic partnerships across Unite Us’ first decade. For over 10 years, we have been expanding what’s possible, bringing sectors together to achieve whole-person health for every member in our communities. Hear from those partners and learn how you can join us to unlock the potential of your community.
Andy Slavitt was President Biden’s White House Senior Advisor for the COVID-19 response. He is currently a member of a President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) working group on public health. He’s led many of the nation’s most important healthcare initiatives, serving as President Obama’s head of Medicare and Medicaid and overseeing the turnaround, implementation, and defense of the Affordable Care Act. Slavitt is the “outsider’s insider,” serving in leading private and nonprofit roles in addition to his government services. He is founder and Board Chair Emeritus of United States of Care, a national, nonprofit health advocacy organization, and he’s a founding partner of Town Hall Ventures, a healthcare firm that invests in underrepresented communities.
In 2019, Andy became an investor to Unite Us through Town Hall Ventures. As Town Hall Ventures explained, “Unite Us represents a rare opportunity to invest in a high-quality network asset that is well-positioned to address the unmet social determinants of health at scale through vertical integration of healthcare, government, and social service organizations.”
For this series, we asked Andy about our work together and his vision of how cross-sector collaboration creates lasting change for our country.
As we reflect on a decade bringing sectors together through technology to ensure people’s needs are met, what do you think has changed the most for public health in that time?
Ten years ago, there was no public health technology to speak of. Electronic medical records (EMRs) were just getting rolled out, and there were certainly no standards to communicate. Fax machines and paper checks and what information people had sat on hard drives. Today we have a playing field. We have the Cloud, we have fintech and smartphones, we have virtual visits and remote patient monitoring, and we have companies like Unite Us stitching things together so that we can finally add value to people’s lives.
What do you think about collaboration with other sectors to impact health outcomes?
Most companies want to come into healthcare and “disrupt” when really what they need to come in and do is radically collaborate. Too many companies draw a picture of the healthcare system with themselves at the center and everybody else revolving around them. If you did it the right way and if the person actually was in the center of their healthcare needs, we would build a support structure, common goals, and resources around them. People should be the reason we use to get out of our silos.
What impact are you most hopeful for as a result of our partnership?
Everywhere I look, people would benefit from Unite Us. They don’t always know it. But they know the problem they have. Coordinating services, building networks, and tapping into how people live instead of just their healthcare needs is the solution. I have seen states, service organizations, health systems, and entire communities transformed when Unite Us becomes part of their world.
What programs or initiatives related to drivers of health and community health are you most excited about? What’s on the cutting edge that you think will have the greatest impact in the next decade?
It’s clear that we need to house people in a stable way so that they have a chance at building meaningful pathways to a happy life, and that includes their health. Allowing people to accumulate savings and get a little breathing room is the number one thing we can do for people—particularly those who come from generations of poverty and whose families never had the chance to own a home and escape poverty. Put some money in the pockets of people who don’t have much, and it will do wonders for their health.
What is your biggest hope for cross-sector collaboration to improve community health?
We have an excellent evidence base for even the most complex illnesses. Medication-assisted treatment, long lasting injectables, continuous glucose monitors, mammograms. The hard part has always been engaging people up front to understand their needs and make services and resources available to them in a manner that shows them we understand how they live and the issues present in their daily life. It takes the proverbial village—connecting to people where they work, where they live, and where they play. The good news is there are resources and answers out there. The challenge is to have them reach people whenever and wherever that need identifies itself.
What thoughts would you share with Unite Us leadership as they look out on the next 10 years?
You’ve accomplished so much. You’ve taught the world what’s possible and yet we know you’re only scratching the surface. In many ways, that’s an ideal place to sit. Knowing you’re on the right track and seeing all the potential for more. It won’t be easy. Transforming things never is. But the payoff is huge. Think of one person who didn’t have to suffer, and then you can get a good night’s sleep knowing the world worked just a little bit better for them on that day thanks to Unite Us. Now imagine that happening every minute of every day. All over the country.
The more essential Unite Us becomes, the better off we are as a country.
For more information about Town Hall Ventures and Andy, visit https://www.townhallventures.com/andy-slavitt.
Interested in learning more about how to bring Unite Us to your organization?
About Unite Us
Unite Us is the nation’s leading software company bringing sectors together to improve the health and well-being of communities. We drive the collaboration to identify, deliver, and pay for services that impact whole-person health. Through Unite Us’ national network and software, community-based organizations, government agencies, and healthcare organizations are all connected to better collaborate to meet the needs of the individuals in their communities.