The Interprofessional Student Hotspotting Learning Collaborative was recognized on July 31 for its exemplary contributions to interprofessional education at the 2018 Nexus Summit, hosted by the National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education in Minneapolis. The evolving field of healthcare, specifically for patients with complex health and social needs, requires innovative, cross-sector approaches to train its workforce. Our Student Hotspotting program has trained hundreds of professional students around the country since 2014 to work in interdisciplinary teams that connect individuals with complex health and social needs with the care and support they need.

The annual Nexus Summit aims to transform the healthcare system by convening a wide range of interprofessional programs across the country that bridge theory with hands-on practice to train future cohorts of healthcare leaders. The Student Hotspotting program received the 2018 George M. Thibault, MD Nexus Award Honorable Mention at the summit’s award celebration for the program’s efforts to improve health outcomes, decrease costs, and transform care delivery, while putting patients at the heart of its work.

Now entering its fifth year, the six-month Student Hotspotting program has brought together hospital systems, academic institutions, and students in over 20 states to transform the healthcare system and ensure that every individual receives whole-person care. Following a tailored curriculum based on the Camden Coalition’s care model, students form interprofessional teams to work with patients with complex needs in their community who are experiencing extremely high rates of repeated hospitalizations and emergency department visits to help them accomplish their health goals. In 2017, the program launched four Student Hotspotting Hubs across the country: 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. A total of 321 students across the country — 57 student hotspotting teams — participated in the most recent cohort.

In a recent evaluation of outcomes from the Student Hotspotting program, student hotspotters noted that working closely with patients reinforced and deepened their interest in working with individuals with complex health and social needs. The experience of working on an interprofessional team with diverse perspectives to patient care was also cited as especially valuable to the students. After completing the Student Hotspotting program, a majority of students said that they gained a stronger framework for understanding and appreciating interprofessional teaming. “Ensuring that the whole team is on the same page before proceeding with a decision is an important step in providing care and forming authentic healing relationships with a patient,” remarked one student.

In order to see the changes in our healthcare system, we must commit to creating learning experiences for students that will prepare them for the future of care. To fill the gaps in care experienced by patients with complex needs, interprofessional education programs must ensure that all members of that patient’s care team deeply value the diversity of professional skills and knowledge that each team member brings.

To learn more about the Student Hotspotting program, visit https://www.camdenhealth.org/student-hotspotting/.