Project Echo – Telementoring for Complex Health Conditions

Project echo is a method of telementoring, which connects primary care physicians with multi-disciplinary teams. This approach is designed to improve the care for patients suffering from complex health issues, particularly in rural and underserved communities.

The ECHO model, created in 2003 at the University of New view publisher site Mexico, is a treatment for the hepatitis C in prisons and communities that are not served. Since it was developed the ECHO model has been replicated in numerous clinical areas such as 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 cases that have been identified and engage in group discussions with experts in the field via videoconferencing technology. In this “all teach, all learn” format, participants are able to share their expertise and experience with other experts to help them answer questions, provide feedback, and make clinical recommendations.

The ECHO model also allows remote monitoring of patient outcomes. Specialists from the University of New Mexico monitor the plans of each community-based provider’s treatment to ensure their patients receive the highest quality of care. If a patient does not follow the prescribed treatment the doctors can suggest mid-course corrections. This can avoid treatment failure and increases the likelihood of having a positive outcome. Furthermore, specialists can use the ECHO system to monitor data and spot gaps in treatment. This information is later fed back to the local clinics so that they can better assist their patients.