Using technology, not proximity, to connect and share knowledge
Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) moves knowledge instead of patients. The heart of the ECHO model is its knowledge-sharing networks, led by expert specialist teams mentoring multiple community providers. Project ECHO is not “telemedicine,” where expert specialists assume the care of the patient; it is a collaborative care model aimed at practice improvement, in which providers retain responsibility for patients and operate with increasing independence as skills and confidence grow.
Public health and health care professionals become part of a virtual learning community, where they receive expert mentoring and feedback. Together, specialists and community providers collaborate to discuss patient cases and develop recommendations for care. Over time, participants become experts – engaged in a wider community of learners and empowered to address complex conditions.
As a result, patients get the high-quality care they need, when they need it, and close to home.