Project echo is a form of telementoring which connects primary-care practitioners with multi-disciplinary teams. This approach is designed to enhance the care provided to patients with complicated conditions especially in rural areas and those who are underserved.

The ECHO model, created in 2003 at the University of New Mexico, is a treatment for the hepatitis C in prisons and in underserved populations. Since since then the ECHO model has been replicated in many clinical areas including asthma, chronic pain and diabetes. The ECHO model has been funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as well as the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) as well as the GE Foundation and the Leona M. and Harry B Helmsley Charitable Trust.

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

The ECHO model also allows for remote monitoring of the patient’s outcomes. Specialists at the University of New Mexico follow the treatment plans of each community provider to ensure that their patients are receiving the highest quality of care. The doctors may make adjustments at mid-course if the patient is not adhering to the prescribed therapy. This helps stop treatment failure and increases the chance of getting a positive result. Specialists can also utilize the ECHO system to monitor data and identifying areas of care that are not being met. The information is then shared with local healthcare professionals to help them better serve their patients.