Project Echo – Telementoring for Complex Health Conditions

Project echo is a telementoring system that connects primary care clinicians with multidisciplinary teams of specialists. This model is designed to enhance care for patients with complicated health conditions, particularly see this in rural and underserved communities.

The ECHO model, created in 2003 by the University of New Mexico, focuses on treating hepatitis C in prisons and underserved populations. The ECHO model is now being replicated around the globe in various areas of clinical practice including diabetes, asthma chronic pain, asthma 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) and the GE Foundation and the Leona M. and Harry B Helmsley Charitable Trust.

In ECHO sessions participants present unidentified case studies and participate in group discussions with content experts via videoconferencing. In this “all-teach and all-learn” style, instructors share experiences and knowledge to help answer questions, provide feedback, and offer suggestions.

The ECHO model allows 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 high-quality care. The doctors are able to make mid-course adjustments when a patient does not adhere to the prescribed treatment. This helps avoid treatment failure and increases the chance of having a positive outcome. Additionally, specialists can utilize the ECHO system to monitor data and identify gaps in care. The information is then shared with local healthcare professionals to assist them in better serving their patients.