Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) started as a way to meet local healthcare needs. Sanjeev Arora, M.D., a liver disease doctor in Albuquerque, was frustrated that thousands of New Mexicans with hepatitis C could not get the treatment they needed because there were no specialists where they lived. He created Project ECHO so that primary care clinicians could treat hepatitis C in their own communities.
The heart of the ECHO model™ is its hub-and-spoke knowledge-sharing networks, led by expert teams who use multi-point videoconferencing to conduct virtual clinics with community providers.
The ECHO model™ brings together clinical specialist teams (the hub) and primary care clinicians (the spokes). Through teaching sessions and case presentations, the spokes have the opportunity to discuss any cases which they have found challenging and determine the best course of treatment. In this way, primary care doctors, nurses, and other clinicians learn to provide excellent specialty care to patients in their own communities. The networks foster a spirit of learning from each other in a safe environment
Northern Ireland Hospice adopted the ECHO model™ in 2014 as a way to increase the confidence and skill of its Community Nurse Specialists in caring for patients with complex conditions within Palliative Care. Since then, working in partnership with the Health & Social Care Board, further networks have been established in a wide range of healthcare disciplines. In 2016-17, funding was secured for 21 networks within Northern Ireland.
ECHO is now an integral part of GP specialty training in NI.
To find out more about the courses taking place here visit http://echonorthernireland.co.uk/
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