"Hot spotting" in healthcare

The United States spends about $2.5 trillion on health care annually. Health care spending is highly concentrated... just 5% of the population accounts for almost
half of all spending.

Jeffrey Brenner, a physician from Camden, NJ, caught the nation's eye with his work over the last decade that has improved health care in one of the poorest and most dangerous cities in the United States. Using hospital billing data, Brenner first identified "high-utilizers"- medically vulnerable patients who frequently accessed emergency rooms and clinics with complex health and social issues. Not surprisingly, these "hot spots" of patients ended up costing the health care system the most. Using an approach that coordinated medical care and provided patients with much-needed social services, Brenner's team reduced cost of care for these patients by half.

Earlier this week, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation held a policy briefing to announce the expansion of the "hot spotters" model to six other communities with the goal of increasing health care coordination for high-utilizers.

Below is a Frontline documentary about Brenner's work. Let us extend this clearly successful and logical approach to our own communities by looking for local "hot spots".


- Ulfat Shaikh, MD, MPH

Comments

  1. Hot spotting is a great concept to aid those high risk ill unfunded patients in the community who seek ER care. The most expensive treatment is the local emergency room for preventive or wellness care. however if you have no insurance or family doctor what does a patient do? The hot spot accumulated data by Dr. Brenner's idea can save thousands of dollars and give needed medical care.

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