How One Person Used Mapping to Improve Community Health

The Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati (one of HealthLandscape‘s sponsoring organizations) and The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky recently co-sponsored an event called “The Hot Spotter’s Agenda: Targeting Resources to Achieve Quality Care.” Keynote speaker was Dr. Jeffrey Brenner, a primary care physician in Camden, New Jersey.

Dr. Brenner’s dramatic story is told in a 2011 New Yorker article by Atul Gawande. Dr. Brenner, who was on track to become a neuroscientist, instead changed his vocational focus after volunteering one day a week in a free primary care clinic during medical school. After seeing how patients were treated–or not, in one case–he became curious about the relationship between crime “hot spots” and health care delivery. He used maps to plot the data. Although he did not persuade city leaders to implement solutions based on his findings, he continued to collect and examine data and look for medical usage patterns using maps.

He made many discoveries. For example, he located the two blocks that accounted for more healthcare costs than any other in the city–totaling more than $200 million in healthcare bills in a 5.5-year period. He found that a single building sent more people to hospitals as a result of serious falls than any other, totaling almost $3 million in healthcare costs.

Dr. Brenner made meaningful use of the data. He has subsequently poured his efforts into the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers, an organization he founded to treat “superutilizers.” His team has successfully built relationships with the patients they serve, and the Coalition’s care has resulted in significant reductions in healthcare costs.

Click here to view Dr. Brenner’s keynote entitled, “Bending the Cost Curve and Improving Quality in One of America’s Poorest Cities.” Also presenting are Greg Moody and Eric Friedlander, who give Ohio and Kentucky regional perspectives to the concept of “hot spotting.”

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