Project ECHO creates communities of practice where primary care providers and specialists work together with the goals of gaining and spreading new medical knowledge and applying it to patient care.
This model organizes medical education, practice, and research around weekly virtual clinics focused on case-based learning.
These sessions share specialized knowledge and best practices that exist primarily in academic medical centers with community-based primary care clinicians, who develop new expertise for providing care in their own communities.
This article discusses Project ECHO’s expansion in the U.S. Pacific Northwest in 2009 through the University of Washington. Weekly videoconferences focused on hepatitis C, chronic pain, integrated addictions and psychiatry, and HIV/AIDS.
Looking forward, Project ECHO must address financial sustainability and issues of expansion. Overall, however, this model proves promising for bringing specialist care to rural areas.