Bridging the Gap between Social Determinants and Healthcare with Raffaelle Breaks

Raffaelle Breaks, Chief Product Officer at Unite Us

In this episode of Friends of Project Healthcare

Raffaelle Breaks, Chief Product Officer at Unite Us, joins host Eric Thrailkill to discuss bridging the gap between social determinants and stakeholders in healthcare issues by building systems around accessibility and user-friendliness. Raffaelle (“Raff”), an experienced software engineer and digital transformation expert, explains the mission of Unite Us to enable sustainable, community-based approaches to healthcare that keep patients and healthcare workers at the center of technological advancements.

“It makes logical sense that if you invest in social care, if you meet those needs, you’re going to need less clinical care,” Raff shares. “We’re here to show that it can truly have an impact and have the right outcomes and a return on investment for those that are investing in social care.”

Before working for Unite Us, Raff spent over 20 years aiding the product development for American Express in its early digitization stages. Driving the strategy and direction of the American Express mobile app, she developed an expertise on user experience optimization.

The decision to transition to healthcare work was a risk worth taking for Raff, who admired the goals of Unite Us upon a realization of her desire to use her own skills towards something mission-driven. “I really wanted to look back on my career and know that I not only help people with their financial lives, but really help them actually with their lives,” she stresses. 

Raff believes the importance of centering the development of new technologies around those who will be affected most directly, including healthcare workers, patients, social workers, and community-based organizations. 

“If you can think about a patient or a client at the center of everything we’re doing,” Raff states, “I think that naturally leads you towards better experiences for everyone around who’s helping facilitate that care, whether it’s clinical care or social care.”

Unite Us is a company focused on thinking through how to connect different stakeholders within the ecosystem across health and social care to ensure that individuals are getting the services they need. Raff explains how Unite Us wants to help community-based organizations providing healthcare services to “understand how they could use our technology to have a steady stream of funding.”

Raff has also helped accelerate the integration of different technologies, such as NowPow and Carrot Health, to combine their different capabilities and optimize program functionality. By measuring outcomes and analyzing the driving determinants of health, Unite Us can draw patterns and make reliable predictions of the future medicare needs of individuals.

“I always think about what is the best user experience? And if you can think about a patient or a client at the center of everything we’re doing, I think that naturally leads you towards better experiences for everyone around who’s helping facilitate that care, whether it’s clinical care or social care,” she said.

“If you always keep individuals at the center of everything you’re developing, take their feedback, and iterate, I think actually we’re in a great space to really make advances in what we’re doing, especially across social care and the intersection of social care and healthcare.”

Through their cutting-edge technology, United Us is seamlessly bringing communities together, predicting, delivering, and facilitating payments for community-based social care, and as a result, their platform encompasses more than one million services, boasting the industry’s largest outcome-focused community network. 

About Raffaelle Breaks Raffaelle joined Unite Us with over 20 years of product development experience at American Express. Leading a team of nearly 400 people, she oversaw the launch of new payment, servicing, and lending features to more than 28 million customers worldwide. She also led the product development of the American Express mobile application, which was repeatedly ranked first place by J.D. Power for customer satisfaction in the financial services category. In her role at Unite Us, Raffaelle oversees the product management and design team to increase connections to social care through the Unite Us product suite. While relatively new to health and social care, Raffaelle is already making an impact driving a 100% increase in product adoption. Since joining, she has led hundreds of product releases and upgrades to help Unite Us achieve its mission of bringing social care to the same priority level as health care. Originally from London, Raffaelle now lives in Brooklyn, NY, and enjoys spending time with her family, cycling, and cooking.

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