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Project Echo — Telementoring for Complex Health Conditions

Project echo is a model of telementoring which connects primary-care doctors with multi-disciplinary teams. This model is designed to improve the treatment of patients with complex conditions especially in rural areas that are not well-served.

The ECHO model, created in 2003 at the University of New Mexico, is focused on treating the hepatitis C in prisons and underserved populations. The ECHO model has since been replicated across the world in numerous clinical areas including diabetes, asthma chronic pain, asthma and rheumatology. The ECHO model has been supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as well as the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), 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 content experts via videoconferencing technology. In this «all-teach learning, all-learn» format, providers share experiences and knowledge to help answer questions, give feedback, and provide recommendations.

The ECHO model also permits remote monitoring of patient outcomes. Specialists from the University of New Mexico monitor the plans of each community provider’s treatment to ensure that their patients receive the best care possible. Specialists can make adjustments mid-course if a patient does not adhere to the prescribed treatment. This helps to avoid treatment failure and increases the clinical training of doctors echo chance of a positive outcome. Furthermore, specialists can use the ECHO system to monitor data and identify gaps in care. This information is then fed back to local doctors who can then better assist their patients.