Project ECHO Profiled in Health Affairs

May 19, 2011, 12:18 PM, Posted by

 Project ECHO, a Pioneer supported project, is fundamentally changing the way health care is provided across the United States, bringing best-practice specialty care to patients with chronic health conditions, wherever they are. Millions of Americans suffering from serious chronic illnesses have severely limited access to specialty care because they live in underserved areas, both rural and urban. At the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, social innovator Sanjeev Arora, M.D., developed this disruptive model of health education and delivery to eliminate the distance barrier so that primary care doctors in underserved areas can provide top-quality care for complex conditions locally.

A Health Affairs Web First, released online today and appearing in the June edition of the journal, provides an in-depth profile of Project ECHO as an example of delivery system innovation, describing how the program leverages videoconferencing technology to train primary care doctors to deliver specialty care in their local settings and create large, real-time knowledge networks. In this way, ECHO exponentially expands the capacities of the health care workforce, providing “health care without walls.”

This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF Pioneering Ideas blog.