Project echo is a form of telementoring which connects primary-care physicians with multi-disciplinary teams. This method is designed to enhance the care provided to patients with complex medical conditions especially in areas that are rural and unserved.

The ECHO model was developed by the University of New Mexico in 2003 with a focus on treating hepatitis C patients who are in populations that are not served and prisons. Since since then, the ECHO model has been replicated across a variety of clinical areas such as asthma, chronic pain and diabetes. The ECHO model is supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality as well as the GE Foundation, and the Leona M. and Harry B Helmsley Charitable Trust.

During ECHO sessions, participants present case studies that have been identified and engage in discussion with content experts via videoconferencing. In this «all-teach, all-learn» format, providers share experiences and knowledge to help answer questions, give feedback, and provide recommendations.

The ECHO model also permits remote monitoring of patient outcomes. Specialists from the University of New Mexico monitor the plans of each community-based provider’s treatment to ensure that their patients receive the best care possible. They are able to make mid-course adjustments when the patient is not adhering to the prescribed treatment. This can prevent treatment failure and enhances the chance of having a positive outcome. Furthermore, specialists can use the ECHO system to monitor data and find gaps in care. This information is then passed on to local clinicians so that they can better serve their patients.

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