Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes), developed by Sanjeev Arora, M.D., at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, is a collaborative model of medical education and care management that helps clinicians provide expert-level care to patients wherever they live. Using video-conferencing technology to train, advise, and support primary care providers, Project ECHO increases access to specialty treatment in rural and underserved areas for a variety of conditions. An AHRQ-funded grant found that patients with hepatitis C who received care under the model had similar outcomes to those who received care in academic medical centers.
Adapting the Project ECHO model and using available telehealth methods can optimize community treatment of various conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The AHRQ ECHO National Nursing Home COVID-19 Action Network
The AHRQ ECHO National Nursing Home COVID-19 Action Network – a partnership between AHRQ, the University of New Mexico’s ECHO Institute and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) – provides free training and mentorship to nursing homes across the country to increase the implementation of evidence-based infection prevention and safety practices to protect residents and staff. As of Fall 2020, nearly one-quarter of the known COVID-19 deaths in the United States have been nursing home residents and staff. Advanced age, underlying frailty, and communal living conditions make nursing home residents especially vulnerable, and their reliance on nursing home staff members put these essential workers at high risk. The Network will provide training and mentorship to as many as 15,000 nursing homes across the country through the Project ECHO model of telementoring. Nursing home teams that would like to participate may sign-up on the Project ECHO website.
Telehealth can allow healthcare professionals to host a range of safe patient encounters while facilitating management of acute and chronic conditions and preventive services. Telementoring, like Project ECHO, can bring scarce clinical expertise to rural or remote locations.