Project echo is a model of telementoring which connects primary-care physicians with multi-disciplinary teams. This model is designed to improve the care for patients suffering from complicated health conditions, particularly in communities with low access to healthcare.

The ECHO model was developed by the University of New Mexico in 2003 with a focus on treating hepatitis C patients who are in populations that are not served and prisons. Since since then, the ECHO model has been replicated in a variety of clinical areas such as asthma, diabetes and chronic pain. The ECHO model is supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality as well as the GE Foundation, and the Leona M. and Harry B Helmsley Charitable Trust.

During ECHO sessions participants present case studies that have been identified and engage in discussion with experts in the field via videoconferencing. In this “all teach, all learn” format, participants share their knowledge and experience with others in order to help answer questions, give feedback, and offer clinical recommendations.

The ECHO model allows 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 receive top-quality treatment. If a patient is unable to adhere to their prescribed therapy, the specialists can recommend mid-course corrections. This helps to reduce the risk of failure in treatment and increases the chance of getting a positive result. Specialists can also utilize the ECHO system for tracking data and identifying gaps in care. The information is then passed back to the local clinicians, enabling them to better assist their patients.