Meta ECHO Conference 2017

Reaching Project ECHO‘s goal of touching one-billion lives by 2025 looks more attainable with each passing month. The program has proliferated to include 139 ECHO hubs in 23 countries. ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) is often described as a force-multiplier, a way to help primary care providers gain specialty care skills that they can then pass on to their patients, rather than referring patients out for treatment.
But ECHO is about more than just passing on skills – it’s about creating a virtual peer network that can give providers the confidence and support they need to use those new skills. This requires creating an “environment of generosity and caring,” said ECHO founder, Dr. Sanjeev Arora. Speakers at last month’s Meta ECHO conference in New Mexico emphasized that ECHOs should feel collaborative not instructive. Dr. Kristin Sohl, who leads an autism ECHO for Missouri’s Show-Me ECHO, put it this way:
“If ECHO feels like a webinar it won’t flourish. We want [participants] to come partner with us, come learn with us, and come have fun with us.”
Beyond emphasizing caring within the professional learning network, the conference underscored the need to reach underserved populations and practice compassion for the vulnerable, including those in correctional facilities and addicted to opioids. Arora encouraged all hubs to form palliative care ECHOs to assist patients with pain management and end-of-life issues.
HTRC Director Eve-Lynn Nelson, Ph.D. shared her research expertise when she presented at the Meta ECHO Research Symposium in a session called “What’s the Potential for Implementation Readiness at the ECHO Assessment Table?”
Members of Missouri Telehealth Network (MTN), HTRC’s Missouri partner, also shared their ECHO experience in a number of well-attended conference sessions. Dr. Karen Edison, MTN’s medical director, joined Project ECHO founder Dr. Sangeev Arora for a panel discussion called, “Getting Government to Champion Your ECHO.” Additionally, Dr. Edison joined MTN Assistant Research Professor Mirna Becevic, Ph.D., and MTN Associate Director of Outreach Gwen Ratermann for a panel discussion entitled, “Show-Me ECHO: Innovative Telementoring to Increase Access to Care and Reduce Patient Suffering.”

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