Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) is a collaborative model of medical education and care management that empowers clinicians everywhere to provide better care to more people, right where they live.
The ECHO model™ does not actually “provide” care to patients. Instead, it dramatically increases access to specialty treatment in rural and underserved areas by providing front-line clinicians with the knowledge and support they need to manage patients with complex conditions such as hepatitis C, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic pain, and behavioral health disorders among many others. It does this by engaging clinicians in a continuous learning system and partnering them with specialist mentors at an academic medical center or hub.
As the ECHO model expands, it is helping to address some of the health care system’s most intractable problems, including inadequate or disparities in access to care, rising costs, systemic inefficiencies, and unequal or slow diffusion of best practices. Across the United States and globally, policymakers are recognizing the potential of ECHO to exponentially expand workforce capacity to treat more patients sooner, using existing resources. At a time when the health care system is under mounting pressure to do more without spending more, this is critical.