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SIU Medicine to Train New 'Hotspotters'

Published Date:
CamdenStudents and faculty from some of the nation’s top higher education institutions will learn the art of “hotspotting” at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine in Springfield. Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers selected the medical school as one of only four sites in the United States to lead and train, in partnership with the Camden faculty, some of the nation’s most respected educators on the hotspotting model of access to care. This program identifies hospital super-users and high-risk patients and promotes ways to give them better, more cost-effective medical care.
SIU faculty will host approximately 100 faculty and students from 10 institutions, including the University of Chicago, Emory University, University of Michigan, and Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, SIU (Springfield and Edwardsville affiliated programs), University of Illinois (Springfield and Chicago affiliated programs) and St. John’s College of Nursing, in the day-long training on Saturday, September 9. The participants’ careers cover all aspects of health-related professions, including business, medicine, nursing, physician assistant, public health, social work and pharmacology. They will learn foundational care principles and how to implement a hotspotting program in their communities.
“Through Camden’s partnership and guidance, hotspotting has allowed us to improve access to care for those who are struggling to achieve health in our current health care system,” said Tracey Smith, DNP, director of population health and community health, SIU Center for Family Medicine. “Using hotspotting techniques, we are helping individuals and families gain independence from the emergency room and helping them achieve the quality of life they hope for.
“The greatest reward comes when individuals and families trust us enough to allow us to assist them when they are sick,” Smith said. “I hope that this program allows health care learners to experience that feeling of reward that so often is missing from health care practice.”
Marsha Johnson, MSW, LCSW, director of curriculum integration at the national center for complex health and social needs, noted that much of the US population lives outside of major metropolitan areas. “Southern Illinois University School of Medicine is an ideal hub to connect complex care with folks in smaller cities and rural areas. Over the past two years that we have worked with SIU staff, it was evident that they are remarkably committed to its community and to patient-centered care. We are so excited for this partnership and the unique perspectives and talents SIU has to share with not only student hotspotters but also the larger, growing field of complex care."
Patients who are admitted to the hospital multiple times a year — called “super-users” — face complex circumstances including chronic illness and social barriers. Hotspotting is a process of care that focuses on coordinating care and follow up with patients to decrease their need to be admitted to the hospital. Strategies can be as simple as ensuring patients are taking their medications correctly, maintaining healthy habits or addressing other contributing conditions, such as a developmental disability.  
Over the past two years, SIU’s hotspotting program linked Springfield patients with health care services that often had been difficult for them to access on their own. As a result, emergency department visits for participants have declined 87 percent with hospital costs decreasing 71 percent.
Other outcomes include:
  • A comprehensive care clinic available to patients six days a month
  • Partnership with Memorial Medical Center and HSHS St. John’s Hospital to establish a community health worker program to address health access for people living in the Enos Park neighborhood
  • Partnerships with homeless shelters, police, community mental health, and others to improve health access for people in Springfield.  
  • A grant from the US Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) that targets the 16-county Delta region, which includes Illinois' southernmost counties. This program will assist in expanding the Camden Hotspotting and community health worker programs to that area.
SIU School of Medicine ( is a public medical school established in 1970 and focused on the health-care needs of downstate Illinois. An international leader in medical education, the school has been internationally acclaimed for its innovations in medical education, including standardized patients, problem-based learning and curriculum assessment. SIU School of Medicine is based in Carbondale and Springfield and is specifically oriented to educating new physicians prepared to practice in Illinois communities. Since opening, more than 5,500 physicians have graduated from its medical degree, residency and fellowship programs.
Schedule an interview or request more information by contacting SIU Medicine's Office of Public Relations and Communications:
Karen Carlson
Lauren Murphy

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