Project ECHO

How It Works

Project ECHO™ is a model that enables a patient’s primary doctor to deliver top-quality care for complex conditions in a local setting. Project ECHO™ (Extension for Community Health Care Outcomes) leverages tele-technology to train primary care doctors in rural and underserved areas to treat complex chronic illness.

Project ECHO™: creates a Community of Practice through bringing together rural, urban, and academic providers to educate one another, share cases, ask and answer questions, provide best practices, and treatment strategies to enhance patient outcomes and to leverage specialist time and expertise to expand the care a provider can provide.

The Primary purpose of Project ECHO™ is to build expertise in primary care providers. Through the use of tele-technolgy a connection can be made, cases discussed, and many patients’ lives impacted by more thoroughly trained providers.

Here is how it works:

  1. Providers log into a web-based video conference
  2. Each provider presents Hepatitis C cases from a standardized case report form
  3. Community providers and the specialist work together to design a care plan for the presented patient.
  4. These plans range from starting Hep C treatment to waiting for other complicating issues to get resolved (6 months of sobriety, weight loss, etc.).
  5. Once cleared the patient can start treatment, the provider follows the Hep C treatment protocol and presents the patient’s treatment status at important milestones or when a health related issue may impede treatment.
  6. The care team then may change the treatment plan to maximize the patient’s chance of cure.