Project ECHO is a lifelong learning and guided practice model that revolutionizes medical education and exponentially increases workforce capacity to provide best-practice specialty care and reduce health disparities. The heart of the ECHO model™ is its hub-and-spoke knowledge-sharing networks, led by expert teams who use multi-point videoconferencing to conduct virtual clinics with community providers. In this way, primary care doctors, nurses, and other clinicians learn to provide excellent specialty care to patients in their own communities.
People need access to specialty care for their complex health conditions.
There aren't enough specialists to treat everyone who needs care, especially in rural and underserved communities.
ECHO trains primary care clinicians to provide specialty care services. This means more people can get the care they need.
Patients get the right care, in the right place, at the right time. This improves outcomes and reduces costs.
Project ECHO links expert specialist teams at an academic hub with primary care clinicians in local communities. Primary care clinicians, the spokes in our model, become part of a learning community, where they receive mentoring and feedback from specialists. Together, they manage patient cases so that patients get the care they need. Although the ECHO model makes use of telecommunications technology, it is different from telemedicine.
Project ECHO started as a way to fill a critical health care gap in New Mexico. Sanjeev Arora, MD, created Project ECHO to meet the needs of tens of thousands of New Mexicans with hepatitis C who lacked access to specialty treatment in their communities.
The ECHO model is being adopted across the United States: by academic medical centers, large clinic systems, national medical care providers, and even federal government agencies like the Department of Defense. New ECHO projects are launched every month, as this low-cost, high-impact model is adapted to meet the needs and resources of different communities and populations.
As access to the Internet and distance technology increases, ECHO is being implemented around the world to leverage the desire and willingness of specialty and primary care clinicians alike to serve more patients and improve access to care by sharing knowledge.
The ECHO model is expanding—across diseases and specialties, across urban and rural locales, and across different types of delivery and payment systems.
Interested in bringing Project ECHO to your practice? If you are in New Mexico, you can join a teleECHO clinic. If you are elsewhere, join our Introduction and Orientation events or learn more about what it takes to replicate ECHO.