Project echo is a telementoring program that connects primary care clinicians with inter-disciplinary teams of specialists. This model is designed to improve care for patients with complex health conditions, especially in rural and underserved communities.

The ECHO model, developed in 2003 by the University of New Mexico, focuses on treating hepatitis C in prisons and underserved populations. Since 2003 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 and the GE Foundation, and the Leona M. and Harry B Helmsley Charitable Trust.

During ECHO sessions participants present cases that have been identified and participate in discussions with experts in the field via videoconferencing. In this “all-teach, all-learn” format, providers share knowledge and experience to answer questions, give feedback, and provide recommendations.

The ECHO model allows remote monitoring of patient outcomes remotely. Specialists from the University of New Mexico monitor each community provider’s plans for treatment to ensure their patients receive top-quality care. If a patient fails to follow the prescribed treatment the doctors can suggest mid-course corrections. This can help avoid treatment failure and increases the chances of a successful outcome. Additionally, specialists can utilize the ECHO system to monitor data and identify gaps in care. This information is then relayed back to local physicians so that they can better assist their patients.