Project Echo – Telementoring for Complex Health Conditions

Project echo is a method of telementoring that links primary-care physicians with multi-disciplinary teams. This approach is designed to enhance care for patients suffering from complex health conditions, especially in communities with low access to healthcare.

The ECHO model was developed at the University of New Mexico in 2003, with a focus on treating the hepatitis C patients who are in populations that are not served and prisons. The ECHO model has since been replicated throughout the globe in various areas of clinical practice, including asthma, diabetes, chronic pain and rheumatology. The ECHO model has been aided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as well as the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the GE Foundation and the Leona M. and Harry B Helmsley Charitable Trust.

In ECHO sessions, participants present case studies that have been identified and engage in discussion with experts in the field via videoconferencing. In this “all-teach and all-learn” format, providers share experiences and knowledge to help answer questions, give feedback, and provide recommendations.

The ECHO model also permits remote monitoring of patient outcomes. Specialists from the University of New Mexico monitor every community provider’s plans for treatment to ensure their patients receive high-quality care. If a patient does not follow the prescribed treatment the doctors can suggest mid-course corrections. This can reduce the risk of failure in treatment and increases the chance of a positive outcome. Specialists can also make use of the ECHO system for tracking data and identifying gaps in care. This information is then fed back to local physicians who can then better provide their patients with the best possible care.






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