Checking Back in on Hotspotting

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Scott Pingree, director of strategic planning at Intermountain, wrote about hotspotting in the Harvard Business Review in 2013. The term “hotspotting” refers to treating the one percent of high-cost patients who consume more than 50 percent of the total health care costs.

RELATED: Tackling the "Hotspotter" Patient Challenge – Scott Pingree

Intermountain since created the Comprehensive Care Clinic which serves only the patients with long-term illnesses and complications and collects all of their visits into single sessions. Lab work, doctor visits, physical fitness sessions, and meeting with behavioral health specialists – all in one day removing all of the individual appointments that used to happen.

The Deseret News, profiled the clinic and a patient in December, 2015. The article talks about the implementation and the effect that has already been felt.

“Early results from the clinic are encouraging. ER visits are down. Costs are down. And survey results show that half of the patients report better health and 80 percent reported more confidence. Other hot spotting studies have also shown promise,” wrote Daphne Chen in the Deseret News.

RELATED: Deseret News - ‘Sickest of the sick’: Caring for patients who account for lion's share of costs

What started as an idea to help manage rising healthcare costs and crowded clinic lobbies might be seeing their efforts paying off. It took a radical change with how patients are handled, as well as how doctors are asked to treat.

“We’ve demonstrated historically that when we implement evidence-based practices, we not only improve clinical outcomes but also do so at a lower overall cost to the community. That’s the key to making reimbursement for population health work. It’s not restricting care to reduce costs, because restricting care leads to worse outcomes. It’s focusing on the outcomes,” Pingree wrote.

The Comprehensive Care Clinic is at the Intermountain Medical Center in Murray.