Project Echo – Telementoring for Complex Health Conditions

Project echo is a telementoring model that connects primary care clinicians with multidisciplinary teams of specialists. This model is designed to improve care for patients suffering from complex health conditions, especially in communities that are rural and underserved.

The ECHO model was developed by the University of New Mexico in 2003 and was primarily focused on treating the hepatitis C patients who are in populations that are not served and prisons. The ECHO model has since been replicated around the world in many areas of clinical practice such as diabetes, asthma, 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) as well as the GE Foundation and the Leona M. and Harry B Helmsley Charitable Trust.

During ECHO sessions participants present de-identified case studies and engage in discussions with experts in the field via videoconferencing. In this “all teach and all learn” format, providers share their expertise and knowledge with other participants to answer questions, give feedback, and make clinical recommendations.

The ECHO model also allows remote monitoring of the patient’s outcomes. Specialists from the University of New Mexico monitor every community provider’s plans for treatment to ensure their patients receive high-quality care. The specialists are able to make mid-course adjustments when patients do not adhere to the prescribed therapy. This can avoid treatment failure and increases the likelihood of having a positive outcome. Furthermore, specialists can use the ECHO system to track data and identify gaps in care. The information is then passed back to the local clinics, enabling them to better assist their patients.


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