A fast-growing international program, Project ECHO uses telemedicine to help rural and remote providers learn from specialists to manage care for their complex patients.
A telemedicine platform developed about 15 years ago in New Mexico is now helping thousands of doctors across the country learn from specialists and manage care for patients with complex conditions.
Project ECHO (Extension for Community Health Outcomes) uses a hub-and-spoke model to connect rural and remote practitioners with specialists to discuss cases that would otherwise be sent to large — and distant — health systems. It’s now in use in more than 130 hubs across the United States, at health systems from Hawaii to Florida, as well as 23 other countries (This includes Canada, with portals in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver for hepatitis C).
The basic model places an academic medical center or large health system at the hub and provides telemedicine links to primary care providers, clinics and federally qualified health centers who participate in teleECHO clinics, which can take place weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. Through a secure teleconferencing platform, primary care providers present their patient cases for review by specialists, discuss new trends and techniques, and gather advice from their peers on how to treat their patients.