Interprofessional Student Hotspotting Reflection

Caption: Colin McNamara BSN, RN and fellow nursing student Madeleine Rutledge (SON NP student) presenting the hotspotting project at Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing Student Scholars Day. This poster was also presented at the 11th Emory Quality Conference by Georgia CTSA MSCR scholar Michael Arenson (M3, MSCR), at the 5th Annual Health Services Research Day by Jennifer Dyson (Georgia State University MSW candidate), and at the Medical Student Poster Competition by Sindhuja Surapaneri (M3).

Given the multitude of options, it can be difficult for students to choose a career path. Some days, I dream of being a clinician, and others, a social worker. At times, I think being an attorney or an economics researcher would be stimulating. Regardless of the actual path, certain goals are clear in my mind – I’d like to help people establish the baseline of a happy, healthy life in an affirming and sustainable manner. For that reason, helping establish Atlanta’s Interprofessional Hotspotting Learning Collaborative has been a nice union of seemingly disparate interests.   

The Interprofessional Hotspotting Learning Collaborative is a program for Grady’s high-utilizing patients to work with students of varied backgrounds on non-medical matters contributing to frequent hospital utilization. Who are high-utilizers? High utilizers are the top 5% of patients who constitute 50% of healthcare costs. High-utilizers often have complex chronic conditions requiring daily maintenance, like ESRD (End-Stage Renal Disease, kidney failure) and CHF (congestive heart failure). Beyond complex chronic conditions, additional mental health diagnosis and limited access to social resources can contribute to difficulty navigating healthcare infrastructure. Atlanta’s student hotspotters work with Grady’s high-utilizers to address barriers to managing health without frequent hospitalization.

The Atlanta student hotspotting program is an offshoot of a national hotspotting initiative led by Primary Care Progress and the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers, which is currently in place at about twenty universities across the country. While the national interprofessional hotspotting initiative began in 2014, the program is new to Atlanta. The Atlanta team is sponsored by the Healthcare Innovation Program/Georgia Clinical & Translational Science Alliance Seed Grant, Emory University’s Primary Care Consortium, and Dean Linda McCauley at Emory’s Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing. The team began with five students for the 2017-2018 school year, and is now composed of about thirty students from Emory University, Georgia State University, Mercer University, and Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, whose academic backgrounds include law, medicine, nursing, pharmacy, public health, and social work. 

As a student, I am eager to learn. I’m also eager for hands-on experience that benefits patients.  Yes, learning happens in the classroom and during clinical rotations. That said, there are other valuable lessons to be picked up from students of other professions, and most importantly – patients. I am excited for this program as it is an opportunity to approach a dilemma (high- utilization) with input from the interprofessional team. Law students will assist in parsing out the details of disability paperwork and insurance eligibility. Pharmacy students will aid in establishing a daily routine for medication adherence. Public health students will offer personalized education as it fits within systemic trends. Medical and nursing students will help navigate the healthcare landscape. And social work students will assist in setting tangible goals and accessing community resources to bring them to fruition. From these varied angles, student hotspotters hope to allow Grady’s high-utilizers to engage in lifestyles more conducive to maintaining health, with fewer hospitalizations. 

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The pilot Atlanta Student Hotspotting team (2017-2018) included:

  • Michael Arenson, Emory SOM, MSCR 2018/MD 2019
  • Jennifer Dyson, Georgia State University, MSW 2018
  • Colin McNamara, Emory SON, BSN 2017/MSN 2018
  • Madeleine Rutledge, Emory SON, BSN 2017/MSN 2018
  • Sindhuja Surapaneni, Emory SOM, MD 2019
Faculty advisors for the 2017-2018 Atlanta Student Hotspotting team include:
  • Sara Turbow, MD, MPH, Emory SOM *
  • John Marshall, MD, Emory SOM *
  • Ann Horigan, PhD, RN, Emory SON *
  • Renanda Dear, LMSW, EdD, GSU School of Social Work *
  • Jeannie Weston, EdD, RN, Emory SON
  • Nicole Metzger, PharmD, Mercer University
  • Bisan Salhi, MD, PhD, Emory SOM
  • Melissa Chesson, PharmD, Mercer University
  • * denotes mentoring during 2017-2018

By: Colin McNamara BSN, RN
Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing
Emory University
MSN (FNP) December 2018
HRSA Nurse Corps Scholar
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