ECHO Care: Providing Multidisciplinary Specialty Expertise to Support the Care of Complex Patients

Miriam Komaromy
Judy Bartlett
Andrea Zurawski
Sarah R. Gonzales-van Horn
Summers G. Kalishman
Venice Ceballos
Xi Sun
Martin Jurado
Sanjeev Arora
Peer-Reviewed Article
January 2020

Project ECHO (Extension for Community Health Outcomes) virtually connects specialists with community-based providers to help improve patient care management. This evaluation of the ECHO Care pilot examined the effectiveness using the ECHO model to support outpatient intensivist teams (OIT) for individuals with complex needs. OITs typically include a nurse practitioner or physician assistant, a registered nurse, one or two community health workers, and a licensed mental health provider.

Under the ECHO Care model, case-based mentoring and support from multidisciplinary specialist teams was provided to OITs via weekly videoconferencing sessions. The evaluation found that this access to specialist supports improved the OITs’ ability to manage complex patients and increased access to specialty care. Seventy percent of surveyed OIT members indicated that case discussions changed patient care plans and 87 percent applied what they learned to other patients. Almost all of the surveyed OIT members felt that their participation in the virtual ECHO program benefited the quality of care they provided to their patients.

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