Unite Us to acquire SDOH-focused analytics company Staple Health 

Unite Us is expanding its data capabilities by acquiring social determinants-focused analytics company Staple Health.

Unite Us, a tech company that aims to build coordinated care networks that include both providers and community health organizations, has already partnered with Staple Health for several years, and that close contact highlighted the value they’d bring to the company, CEO Dan Brillman told Fierce Healthcare.

“There’s no better way to know more about another company than to work together,” he said.

He said that uniting both strengthens Unite Us’ own analytics abilities and offers the Staple team access to data on outcomes and provider capabilities they might never have access to otherwise.

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Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Staple Health was founded in 2017 by Nick Lovejoy and Chris Eberly, and its platform tracks detailed data on how social factors are impacting acute care, behavioral health, substance abuse and other key patient outcomes.

Lovejoy said in a statement that while Staple was able to offer providers and other clients a wealth of data, it wasn’t able to direct them on how to best use the information.

“Customers need to know what’s driving risk and what to do about it,” he said.

Brillman said improving the effectiveness of their predictive models was “extremely important” to the team at Staple. He said Staple’s team will take a leading role in the data science efforts at Unite Us following the acquisition.

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Brillman added that the COVID-19 pandemic is further making the case for enhanced analytics targeting the social determinants of health. The virus is having a disproportionate impact on communities of color and other vulnerable populations.

He said that having a strong baseline of data is critical to informing their network design but also to working with policymakers at all levels. On social health needs, it allows interventions that get upstream at root causes—and to flag potential disparities more quickly, he said.

Having the data also allows groups like Unite Us to push for reimbursement to community health organizations that often intervene for patients’ social needs but may not be paid by health plans.

“I think it’s really what the market has been looking for,” he said.