Project Echo – Telementoring for Complex Health Conditions

Project echo is a telementoring program which connects primary care practitioners with multidisciplinary teams of specialists. This method is designed to enhance care for patients with complex health conditions, especially in communities with low access to healthcare.

The ECHO model, first developed in 2003 at the University of New Mexico, focuses on treating hepatitis C in prisons and communities that are not served. Since then, the ECHO model has been replicated in many clinical areas, including asthma, chronic pain, and diabetes. The ECHO model is supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the GE Foundation, and the Leona M. and Harry B Helmsley Charitable Trust.

During ECHO sessions, participants present de-identified cases and engage in discussions with experts in the field using videoconferencing technology. In this « all teach all learn » format, experts share their knowledge and experience with others in order to help answer questions, provide feedback, and make clinical recommendations.

The ECHO model also permits remote monitoring of patient outcomes. Specialists from the University of New Mexico monitor each community provider’s plans for treatment to ensure that their patients receive the best care possible. The doctors may make adjustments at mid-course if a patient does not adhere to the prescribed treatment. This can help avoid treatment failure and increases the chances of a positive outcome. Moreover, specialists can use the ECHO system to monitor data and find gaps in care. This information is then fed back to the local clinics and allows them to better serve their patients.

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