Project Echo – Telementoring for Complex Health Conditions

Project echo is a form of telementoring which connects primary-care doctors with multi-disciplinary teams. This method is designed to improve the treatment of patients with complex health issues, particularly in rural and underserved areas.

The ECHO model was developed by the University of New Mexico in 2003 with a primary focus on treating hepatitis C patients in underserved populations and prisons. The ECHO model is now being replicated around the globe in various clinical areas such as diabetes, asthma, chronic pain, and Rheumatology. The ECHO model is supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the GE Foundation, and the Leona M. and Harry B Helmsley Charitable Trust.

During ECHO sessions Participants present de-identified cases and engage in group discussions with the content experts via videoconferencing technology. In this “all-teach, all-learn” style, instructors share expertise and knowledge to answer questions, provide feedback and provide recommendations.

The ECHO model allows remote monitoring of the patient’s outcomes. Specialists from the University of New Mexico follow each community provider’s treatment plans to ensure that their patients receive high-quality care. If a patient does not adhere to their prescribed therapy The specialists may suggest mid-course corrections. This helps to avoid treatment failure and increases the chances of a positive outcome. Additionally, specialists can utilize the ECHO system to track their data and spot gaps in treatment. This information is passed on to local clinicians to assist them in better serving their patients.

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