By Megan Joyce, MS, Advanced Programs Coordinator at Thomas Jefferson University’s Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education; Amin Azzam, MD, MA, Simulation Educator and Professor at Samuel Merritt University; Janice Frueh, PharmD, BCPS, Adjunct Professor at Southern Illinois University, School of Medicine; Kyle Turner, PharmD,  BCACP, Assistant Professor, Clinical Pharmacist, Faculty Chair, IPE Student Hotspotting, Co-Course Director, U of U Relational Leadership Initiative at University of Utah College of Pharmacy; and Sarah E. Hart, PhD, RN, Associate Professor, Health Systems and Community-based Care, Director of Student and Community Engagement Fellow, Academy of Health Sciences Educators at University of Utah College of Nursing. 

Complex care requires providers to practice in ways that are often very different from how they have been trained, including working in interprofessional teams, addressing social needs, and centering care around patients’ goals. The Interprofessional Student Hotspotting Learning Collaborative (Student Hotspotting) was created to give students hands-on experience providing complex care early in their training. 

In 2017, the program expanded to a hub-and-spokes design with four Hotspotting hubs across the country administering the program to student teams in their region (both internal and external to their institutions) and acting as local engines of innovation for complex care training and practice. 

In fall 2019, Student Hotspotting launched its sixth year of training student teams to understand the core causes of high healthcare utilization and better work with patients who have complex health and social needs. Kickoff events took place at our four Hotspotting hub institutions: Samuel Merritt University in Oakland, CA; University of Utah in Salt Lake City, UT; Southern Illinois University in Springfield, IL; and Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, PA. 

Since the fall, student hotspotters across the country have built holistic, inclusive, and goal-oriented relationships with patients, and have built bridges of care between the various health professions represented on their interprofessional teams. As the hubs wrap up the 2019-20 Hotspotting term, here is what each hub had to share about their accomplishments this year.

Samuel Merritt University, Oakland, CA

Samuel Merritt University (SMU) used this hotspotting year to “capacity build” within the university. Student Hotspotting is now a credit-bearing elective course for internal SMU teams of students. Similarly to other hubs, SMU hosted monthly case conferences and skills-building labs, which often involved discussions of the systems barriers preventing students from gaining access to the patient population they hoped to serve through hotspotting. 

Leveraging SMU’s expertise in simulation-based learning, the student hotspotting program is now poised to develop virtual case conferences to complement the existing formal curricular content for the Student Hotspotting program developed by the National Center.

University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 

This academic year, the Utah hub welcomed two teams from the University of Montana to our cohort of eight internal teams. Housed within the University’s Interprofessional Education (IPE) Program, Student Hotspotting’s goal has been to build relationships between education and practice communities, address and teach social determinants of health, and develop students’ IPEC core competencies. 

As a continued step in this effort, The IPE program is partnering with University of Utah Health’s Intensive Outpatient Clinic (IOC) – a population health-focused program developed by University of Utah Health to provide comprehensive care for high-risk, high-need individuals. This partnership has afforded students the opportunity to work side-by-side and under the direction of seasoned practitioners, including physicians, advanced-practice clinicians, social workers, and a nurse care manager, on the front lines of care in a new and innovative model. Each week, team members and IOC advisors gather to share information and create plans to address the health and social needs of the program participants. 

In addition to the regular operations within the hub, an assessment of the value of the program and its impact on students and participants continues with efforts to assess interprofessional learning, impact on cost and utilization, and patient experience. As the results of these efforts become available we hope to share them with the broader complex care community.

Southern Illinois University, Springfield, IL 

Southern Illinois University (SIU)’s 2019-2020 Student Hotspotting program has focused on enhancing recent internal team programmatic changes. During the prior program year, SIU’s internal teams transitioned to two teams based in Carbondale, IL and four teams based in Springfield, IL compared to prior years in which all teams were in Springfield, IL. This change has allowed more flexibility for medical students to have multiple year participation in the student hotspotting program. Additionally, this change allowed collaboration with new professional degree programs. 

The SIU internal teams now encompass learners and academic advisors from 10 professional degree programs. An additional recent SIU internal team programmatic change is having some returning learners take on leadership roles as a “student coach”. Due to the success experienced with this student leadership model during the prior program year, all of SIU’s internal teams this year have a “student coach.” Student coaches have been particularly helpful with on-boarding new learners to the Student Hotspotting program and providing peer-to-peer mentorship for learners. 

SIU’s Student Hotspotting program is housed within the Office of Community Initiatives & Complex Care at the SIU School of Medicine. This office focuses on developing innovative programs to address population health and integrating alternative healthcare team members (e.g., community health workers, peer support specialists) into current healthcare systems. 

Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA

At Jefferson, 16 interprofessional Hotspotting teams (8 TJU teams and 8 external teams) participated with the hub this year. Over 90 students in 10 different professions were trained in best practices for delivering complex care techniques to patients. 20 patients worked directly with students this year, meeting with students regularly to discuss and address health goals. The Jefferson Center for Interprofessional Practice & Education integrates the Hotspotting program into its student educational offerings, and grants students the opportunity to earn a transcript designation of Excellence in Collaborative Practice. 

As a part of the Hotspotting curriculum, all students (both internal and external to Jefferson) participated in monthly case conference calls, where teams would rotate presenting a detailed update on their patients’ progress. Students submitted “Pulse Checks” throughout the year to indicate how internal teamwork and patient health goals were developing. Jefferson students also attended monthly Essentials Workshops, during which teams learned more about resources that were available to them on campus (such as care coordinators, electronic health records, Jefferson’s Hotspotting Toolkit, etc.). Jefferson’s Hotspotting Wrap Up, including poster presentations and a student/patient team recognition ceremony, was conducted virtually on March 21, 2020.      

2020-2021 Applications open

In these times, training in interprofessional care for those with the highest needs is needed more than ever. Are you a student or faculty member that wants to get involved in the Student Hotspotting program? Applications for Student Hotspotting for the 2020-21 year are now open. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, and the final application deadline is May 1, 2020. Accepted student teams will be notified May 15. Watch the recorded informational webinar to find out more.