Project Echo – Telementoring for Complex Health Conditions

Project echo is a form of telementoring that links primary-care clinicians with multi-disciplinary teams. This model is designed to enhance the care provided to patients with complex health issues especially in rural and underserved areas.

The ECHO model, created in 2003 by the University of New Mexico, is a treatment for hepatitis C in prisons and communities that are not served. Since 2003 the ECHO model has been replicated in numerous clinical areas, including asthma, chronic pain, and diabetes. The ECHO model is backed by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality as well as 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 content experts via videoconferencing technology. In this “all-teach learning, all-learn” format, experts share their knowledge and experience to answer questions, give feedback, and provide recommendations.

The ECHO model also permits remote monitoring of the patient’s outcomes. Specialists at the University of New Mexico follow each community provider’s treatment plans to ensure that their patients are receiving high-quality care. If a patient fails to adhere to the prescribed treatment The specialists may suggest mid-course corrections. This helps reduce the risk of failure in treatment and increases the likelihood of getting a positive result. Furthermore, specialists can use the ECHO system to track data and discover gaps in care. This information is later fed back to the local clinicians and allows them to better serve their patients.

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