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Project echo is a telementoring program which connects primary care practitioners with multidisciplinary teams of specialists. This model is designed to enhance care for patients suffering from complex health conditions, especially in communities with low access to healthcare.

The ECHO model, which was developed in 2003 at the University of New Mexico, concentrates on treating the hepatitis C in prisons and underserved populations. The ECHO model has since been replicated throughout the world in a variety of areas of clinical practice including diabetes, asthma chronic pain, asthma, and rheumatology. The ECHO model is supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the GE Foundation, and the Leona M. and Harry B Helmsley Charitable Trust.

During ECHO sessions participants present cases that have been identified and engage in discussions with experts in the field via videoconferencing technology. In this “all-teach learning, all-learn” style, instructors share knowledge and experience to answer questions, provide feedback and offer suggestions.

The ECHO model allows remote monitoring of the patient’s outcomes. Specialists at the University of New Mexico follow the treatment plans of each community provider to ensure that their patients are receiving top-quality treatment. If a patient does not adhere to their prescribed therapy experts can suggest mid-course corrections. This helps to avoid treatment failure and increases the likelihood of a positive outcome. Specialists can also use the ECHO system to monitor data and identifying areas of care that are not being met. This information is passed on to local clinicians to enable them to better serve their patients.