ECHO was initially created at the University of New Mexico to support distant rural health clinics with little access to specialty expertise. This is achieved through live video communication that links specialists with clinic based primary care providers for training and consultation. Using video communication, ECHO expands the capacity to safely and effectively treat chronic and complex diseases frequently found in primary care, de-monopolizing knowledge in order to expand access to best-practice medical care. ECHO also allows PCPs to upscale their knowledge and skills in areas that challenge them, reduces barriers to care, and promotes evidence based standards of care for better population outcomes.
Health Share of Oregon is partnering with the Oregon Health and Sciences University (OHSU) to implement the first ECHO in Oregon (“Project ECHO”). OHSU was chosen because it is an academic medical center that has established teaching and learning opportunities that complement the ECHO model. The mission of Project ECHO at OHSU is to develop the capacity to safely and effectively treat chronic, common and complex diseases within the medical home, and measure PCP comfort level in treating more complex cases.
Staff is Observing ECHO Clinics across the Country
Dr. Betlinski has observed a live ECHO clinic to learn how the clinic flows – typically there are two components of an ECHO, a didactic teaching and case presentations from PCPs. OHSU will also be hiring an ECHO project coordinator to support Project ECHO. Mark Lovgren, Director of Telemedicine at OHSU and his staff are ensuring that all technological needs are met and that the ECHO clinic intake process works smoothly.
Primary Care Provider Recruitment is Underway
Project ECHO and OHSU will work with CareOregon Clinical RAEs to recruit primary care providers to participate. The hope is to recruit 10-15 PCPs initially, though the number of participants is flexible due to the use of video communication.
Curriculum and CME Credit is Under Development
OHSU is taking the lead on establishing curriculum and CME credit procedures.