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Hospitals use 'hot spotting' to zero in on super-users

The San Francisco Chronicle, February 5, 2014

At San Francisco General Hospital, less than 3 percent of patients who come to its adult medical clinic are responsible for 35 percent of all admissions. In Oakland, just 5 percent of patients in Alameda Health System's Highland Hospital account for 50 percent of hospital "days," meaning a sliver of the population racks up the bulk of the hospital's long, costly hospitals stays. But a growing trend of "hot spotting" - using sophisticated data mapping to zero in on the chronic "super-users" of health services - is taking hold, spurred in part by provisions in the federal Affordable Care Act that financially reward efforts to help keep patients healthier and out of the hospital.