Doctor Hotspot: Atul Gawande Interviews Dr. Brenner
Dr. Jeffrey Brenner is a local physician who some believe might have the model to solve one of America’s most intractable problems: lowering the cost of health care. While analyzing medical billing data in Camden, N.J., he mapped out “hot spots” of the impoverished city’s high-cost patients. By targeting unique care — including home visits and social workers — at the city’s most costly patients, he developed a program that he argues has both lowered health care costs and provided better care in Camden. His organization, the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers, and other similar models were the subject of a January 2011 feature in The New Yorker by journalist and physician Dr. Atul Gawande. Since then, Dr. Brenner’s medical strategy has garnered considerable attention — praised by some as a promising model worthy of more intense study and charged by others as a dangerous expansion of the health care system.But as Brenner tells FRONTLINE correspondent Gawande, “Better care for people is disruptive change.” This is the edited transcript of an interview conducted on May 13, 2011.