Project ECHO® (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) is a movement by The University of New Mexico to demonopolize knowledge and amplify the capacity to provide best practice care for underserved people all over the world. Launched in 2003, the ECHO model™ makes specialized medical knowledge accessible wherever it is needed to save and improve people’s lives. By putting local clinicians together with specialist teams at academic medical centers in weekly virtual clinics or teleECHO™ clinics, Project ECHO shares knowledge and expands treatment capacity. The result: better care for more people.
Treatment for hepatitis C is now available at centers of excellence across New Mexico, and more than 3,000 doctors, nurses and community health workers provide treatment to more than 6,000 patients enrolled in Project ECHO’s comprehensive disease management programs for myriad conditions. A 2011 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that the quality of hepatitis C care provided by Project ECHO-trained clinicians was equal to that of care provided by university-based specialists. What’s more, Project ECHO has expanded—across diseases and specialties, across urban and rural locales, across different types of delivery services, and even across the globe. Today, Project ECHO operates more than 130 hubs for more than 65 diseases and conditions in 23 countries.
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.