Skip to Content

Hot Spotting Guide FAQ

Why did the AAMC develop a ten step guide to health care hot spotting?
The AAMC seeks to ensure that the next generation of physicians is well trained to improve health outcomes, lower cost, and enhance the patient care experience by incorporating social determinants of health. Hot spotting patients who are high utilizers of health care is a tactic that is attracting increasing national interest and can help address health disparities for underserved patients. The AAMC hopes the guide will be of use to students, residents, and health care providers of all types.

Where can I learn more about the concept of health care hot spotting?
A great place to start is a 2011 New Yorker article by Atul Gawande on “The Hot Spotters.” It profiles the work of Dr. Jeffrey Brenner of the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers and others. Dr. Brenner’s organization collaborated with the AAMC to produce this website and a ten step guide to hot spotting.

Many other hospitals, health systems, and provider groups are also doing similar work to target patients with complex needs to provide them with resources that can help them stay healthier and out of the hospital. Some of these include Metro Community Provider Network in Aurora, CO; Health Care Access Now in Cincinnati, OH; the MetroHealth System in Cleveland, OH; and the Multicultural Independent Physicians Association in San Diego, CA.

Health plans in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Ohio are also getting involved in hot spotting to test Dr. Brenner’s model, and two are part of an initiative funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

For more about the importance of community engagement in public health, see the National Institutes of Health publication on Principles of Community Engagement.

Is there other evidence that targeting those patients that frequently visit hospitals can lead to better health outcomes and a reduction in health care costs?
Here are some articles that highlight this approach in emergency departments:

Taking a new tack, MetroHealth System welcomes super-utilizers of the ED, equips them with care coordinators. ED Manag. 2013 Mar;25(3):29-31.

ED diversion: multidisciplinary approach engages high utilizers, helps them better navigate the health care system. ED Manag. 2011 Nov;23(11):127-30.

I’m just a student/resident/other health care provider. Can I get involved in hot spotting?
Yes! The guide is aimed primarily at students and residents, but anyone who works in health services and desires to make a difference can get involved. Check out the AAMC guide for ten steps to hot spotting and get started today.

I read the guide, but I am still not sure how to get started. Can you provide some samples of the materials you talk about in the guide?
Click on “Toolkit” on the left sidebar to find some materials to help you get started.

Ten Steps to Hotspotting Guide

Hot Spotting Cover

Download the Ten Steps to Hotspotting Guide


Contact Us

For more information, please email AHEAD@aamc.org.