Project Echo – Telementoring for Complex Health Conditions

Project Echo – Telementoring for Complex Health Conditions

Project echo is a model of telementoring, which connects primary care clinicians with multi-disciplinary teams. This approach is intended to improve the care of patients with complex medical conditions especially in rural areas and those who are underserved.

The ECHO model, which was developed in 2003 by the University of New Mexico, is a treatment for hepatitis C in prisons and communities that are not served. Since it was developed the ECHO model has been replicated in numerous areas of clinical practice, including asthma chronic pain and diabetes. The ECHO model has been backed by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as well as the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) 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 participate in discussions with experts in the field via videoconferencing technology. In this “all-teach learning, all-learn” format, the experts share their information and experience to address questions, provide feedback, and offer suggestions.

The ECHO model allows remote monitoring of the patient’s outcomes. Specialists from the University of New Mexico monitor the plans of each community-based provider’s treatment to ensure that their patients receive high-quality care. The doctors may make adjustments at mid-course if a patient does not adhere to the prescribed therapy. This can help avoid treatment failure and increases the chances of a positive outcome. Furthermore, specialists can use the ECHO system to monitor data and spot gaps in treatment. This information is then fed back to the local clinicians so that they can better serve their patients.

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