Connecting community providers with health care resources
It all began in 2003 in New Mexico, with a mission to improve health care in rural and underserved populations, by connecting community providers and specialists to eliminate barriers to access to specialty care. With limited-to-no specialty care available in most rural areas, patients can wait for months and travel hundreds of miles to be seen by specialists in a tertiary care center. A lack of access to affordable, quality care can lead to inappropriate and costly utilization of the health system (e.g., frequent ER visits) and, more importantly, to poor health outcomes for individuals.
Project ECHO addresses these issues by training community providers through HIPPA-compliant, technology-enabled collaborative learning to address specialty care-level health concerns in the primary care setting. Multi-disciplinary specialist teams use videoconferencing technology to conduct weekly or bi-weekly sessions with community providers to discuss specialized health care topics. During these clinics, community providers present patient cases to determine the best treatment options. This case-based learning has shown to improve patient health outcomes and provider confidence in treating both common and complex conditions in their communities.
There is no cost associated with participating, and the only requirements to join an ECHO session are access to a computer or mobile device with connection to the internet. Additionally, there are free Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits available for those who participate.
The University of Utah was the third site in the world to replicate the ECHO model™ – in 2011 – in an effort to better serve patients in the Mountain West.
VISIT PROJECT ECHO