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.
Ongoing health workforce shortage is global issue. SEA-HATTC signed MOU with Missouri Telehealth Network, University of Missouri for utilization of ECHO® model and software to conduct virtual clinics via multi-point videoconferencing also extend healthcare knowledge and tele-consultation to primary care and communities in Thailand and Tier 1 countries.
Given the limited project budget and the vast geographic spread of the target countries, SEA-HATTC has been considering the role and ECHO model may play in the overall strategic plan.
To promote the expansion of new learning strategies, the SEA-HATTC has taken lead to introduce Project Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes® (ECHO). An ECHO model is a guided practice strategy for transforming medical education and increasing workforce capacity to teach best-practice specialty care. Having been endorsed as a highly innovative strategy that produces improvements in the quality and efficiency of integrated care, ECHO is a low-cost yet high-impact intervention linking expert inter-disciplinary teams of practitioners through tele-education.
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. As a result, they can provide comprehensive, best-practice care to patients with complex health conditions, right where they live.