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Unite Us scoops up Carrot Health—here’s how this deal could color the next chapter of SDOH programs

The news: Social determinants of health (SDOH) startup Unite Us is acquiring health analytics company Carrot Health to improve its coordination solution that helps enroll patients in healthcare and social services and reimburses community organizations for their work.

  • Carrot Health curates large consumer health datasets to provide a comprehensive view of an individual’s health, and then its analytics pull actionable insights from that data.
  • For context, Unite Us recently expanded its product suite to include predictive capabilities (building upon its 2020 acquisition of SDOH predictive analytics co Staple Health).

The bigger picture: The pandemic highlighted health disparities and payers are now leaning on digital health solutions to fill in these gaps by addressing SDOH.

  • For example, Michigan-based payer Priority Health partnered with SDOH startups Socially Determined, Aunt Bertha, and ConsejoSano in June.
  • And other major insurers like United Healthcare and Blue Cross Blue Shield have developed their own in-house SDOH programs.

What’s the catch? Even though 34% of payers think offering non-clinical services will foster member satisfaction, it’s been difficult to track and prove the impact of SDOH programs since social data has not traditionally been documented or standardized in healthcare. And even when such data is available, payers and providers haven’t figured out the best ways to act on it.

Why this M&A deal matters: This acquisition brings SDOH one step closer to becoming an indisputable part of healthcare.

  • Combining Carrot’s comprehensive datasets with Unite Us’ SDOH care coordination capabilities holds potential in helping spell out the impact of SDOH programs and ROI for payers—which can encourage payers to more fully commit to integrating SDOH strategy and services into their existing practices.