PURPOSE: The Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (ECHO) Model was developed by University of New Mexico (UNM) as a platform to deliver complex specialty medical care to rural and underserved populations. Using state-of-the-art telehealth technology, ECHO trains and supports primary care providers to develop knowledge and self-efficacy in treating a variety of diseases. The goal of Asthma ECHO clinic was to engage providers and allied health personnel as partners to follow the National Guidelines for asthma treatment and education. Thus, providing best practice care to New Mexico’s asthmatics in their own community.
METHODS: Project ECHO operates regularly scheduled telehealth clinics that serve as “knowledge networks”, bringing together specialists from UNM and multiple community-based providers in co-management of the patients. This is not “telemedicine” where the specialist assumes the care of the patient; instead, it is a guided practice model where the primary care provider retains the management of the patient. Collaborative partners in Project ECHO include providers from a variety of clinical sites including Federally Qualified Health Centers in rural and underserved areas of the state, prisons, schools and the NM Department of Health. Asthma education is promoted via didactic sessions and case presentation and partners can also come to the Adult and Pediatric Asthma clinics at UNM for in-depth hands on training and observation. The training includes proper inhaler technique, interviewing of the asthma patient, development of asthma action plans, and approach to a poorly controlled asthma patient.
RESULTS: Bi-weekly clinics, 200 participants, at >50 sites with standardized case presentations. Asthma Educator prep courses yearly: increased number of Nationally Certified Asthma Educators to 40 from baseline of 22. Free CME/CEU for participation in teleclinic Community Health Worker asthma education training Asthma Specialty Center pilot projects beginning in Lovington, NM
CONCLUSIONS: Project ECHO is an effective way to help rural providers improve the care of their asthmatics.
CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: Developing Asthma Specialty Centers in high utilization areas with the ECHO model can improve asthma control and ultimately decrease healthcare utilization.
DISCLOSURE: The following authors have nothing to disclose: Michelle Harkins, Hengameh Raissy, Kathleen Moseley, Karen Luttecke, Sanjeev Arora
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