Project Echo – Telementoring for Complex Health Conditions

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Project Echo – Telementoring for Complex Health Conditions

Project echo is a model of telementoring which connects primary-care practitioners with multi-disciplinary teams. This approach is intended to improve the treatment of patients with complicated conditions especially in areas that are rural and unserved.

The ECHO model was created at the University of New Mexico in 2003, with a focus on treating hepatitis C patients from populations that are underserved and prisons. The ECHO model has since been replicated across the world in many clinical areas including diabetes, asthma, chronic pain, and Rheumatology. The ECHO model has been funded 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.

In ECHO sessions participants present case studies that have been identified and participate in group discussions with content experts via videoconferencing. In this “all-teach, all-learn” format, providers share information and experience to address questions, provide feedback, and offer suggestions.

The ECHO model allows remote monitoring of patient outcomes remotely. Specialists from the University of New Mexico monitor every community provider’s plans for treatment to ensure that their patients receive the best care possible. The specialists can make mid-course adjustments if patients do not adhere to the prescribed treatment. This helps avoid treatment failure and increases the likelihood of a positive outcome. Moreover, specialists can use the ECHO system to track their data and identify gaps in care. The information is then passed back to local physicians and allows them to better serve their patients.

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