Tag Archives: Global Partnership for TeleHealth

Health care’s “one percenters:” Hot spotting to identify areas of need and opportunity

Since Atul Gawande popularized the term in describing the work of Dr. Jeffrey Brenner in a New Yorker article,1 “hot spotting” has been used in health care to describe the process of identifying “super-utilizers” of health care services, then defining intervention programs to coordinate their care. According to Brenner’s data from Camden, New Jersey, 1% of patients generate 30% of payments to hospitals, while 5% of patients generate 50% of payments.2 More recent reports on larger datasets have corroborated these metrics.3 I recently analyzed a sample dataset of (primarily commercial) health insurance claims representing about 2 million covered lives and found that the top 1% of the population representing the highest risk patients accounted for 17% of the Total Medical Allowed (TMA)–the sum of insurer allowed charges for inpatient, outpatient (including hospital emergency department), and professional claims. Casting a wider net, I found that the top 12% of high-risk patients accounted for 55% of charges.    Continue reading

The Patient’s Side of Telemedicine

Last week, I had the opportunity to visit Good Samaritan Clinic in central Honduras. The clinic supports the primary care needs of 90,000 people within the municipality. Access to specialists is few and far between so Good Samaritan recently implemented telemedicine technology (computer, camera, imaging, and internet) to connect with specialists in the US. Access to these specialists is made available at no cost through the “Global Partnership for TeleHealth (GPT).”

Telemedicine is often defined as “the use of information and communications technology to deliver healthcare, particularly in settings where access to medical services is insufficient.” Better overall patient care and improved outcomes are cornerstones of telemedicine. As a result, many hospitals and health systems are deploying telemedicine as a way for rural patients to have access to healthcare services that they would not be able to obtain otherwise. Continue reading