The ECHO model breaks down the walls between specialty and primary care. It links expert specialist teams at an academic ‘hub’ with primary care clinicians in local communities – the ‘spokes’ of the model. Together, they participate in weekly teleECHO clinics, which are like virtual grand rounds, combined with mentoring and patient case presentations.

The clinics are supported by basic, widely available teleconferencing technology. During teleECHO clinics, primary care clinicians from multiple sites present patient cases to the specialist teams and to each other, discuss new developments relating to their patients, and determine treatment.

Specialists serve as mentors and colleagues, sharing their medical knowledge and expertise with primary care clinicians. Essentially, ECHO® creates ongoing learning communities where primary care clinicians receive support and develop the skills they need to treat a particular condition, such as hepatitis C or chronic pain. As a result, they can provide comprehensive, best-practice care to patients with complex health conditions, right where they live.

ECHO, Telehealth, and Telemedicine comparison

Features TeleECHO* Telehealth+ Telemedicine^
Hub and Spoke Model
Rural/Underserved Populations
Direct Doctor-Patient Relationship
Patients are De-identified
Remote Patient Monitoring
Case-Based Learning
Didactic Presentations
Case Consultation
CME Credit
Coverage of Services (CPT Codes)
Develops Subspecialty Expertise Over Time Health Affairs 2011 Jun;30(6):1176-84
Care Provided by Participants is as Safe and Effective as That of a Specialist NEJM 2011 Jun; 364;23
Demonopolizes Specialty Knowledge Acad Med. 2014 Jan;89(1):30-2
*Source Project ECHO Peer-Reviewed Literature + Source HRSA ^ Source