What is Project ECHO?

Project ECHO is an innovative health care program developed to treat chronic and complex medical conditions in rural and underserved areas by using teleconferencing technology. By using this interactive technology, Project ECHO bridges the gap between specialty care and providers in community and rural settings.

Project ECHO works by creating an effective and efficient way for community providers to interface with university specialists to receive guidance on treatment strategies and continuing medical education.

Project ECHO also builds the capacity of community providers and empowers them by building their knowledge and skills in specialty areas.

What does ‘ECHO’ stand for?

Extension for Community Health Care Outcomes

How do I Join a Project ECHO Videoconference Session?

Can patients make an appointment with Project ECHO?

Project ECHO is not for patients. Instead, Project ECHO is a service for providers in community health settings and providers who practice in rural areas. Patients are not actually seen during Project ECHO sessions. Instead, Project ECHO sessions let community providers connect to specialists at University of Utah Health. University of Utah Health specialists can help rural providers co-manage patients with common chronic conditions.

Providers who participate in Project ECHO can present their clinical cases to a specialist or simply join other providers in the spirit of learning or professional development (similar to grand rounds).

Project ECHO partners include:

  • physicians,
  • advanced practice clinicians,
  • clinic nurses,
  • medical assistants, and
  • community health workers.

How can I join Project ECHO?

Please contact Project ECHO at project.echo@hsc.utah.edu or 801-587-9875 for more information.

What benefits do providers get from joining Project ECHO?

Providers who join Project ECHO benefit from the following things:

  • Evidence-based, best practice guidance from specialists
  • Case-based "learning-loop"
  • Clinical update presentations from faculty
  • No cost CME, CEU, CE for participation
  • Live Q & A
  • Opportunity to translate new knowledge into practice to improve outcomes for chronic conditions commonly seen by primary providers

How does Project ECHO benefit health in rural communities?

Even though Project ECHO does not directly serve patients, Project ECHO benefits patients by:

  • giving patients improved access to specialty care,
  • allowing patients to be treated locally by their provider, and
  • reducing travel time to a specialist.

What are the requirements to join an ECHO session?

  • Annual HIPAA training (from your institution)
  • Access to and working knowledge of the following: 
    • Email
    • Reliable phone/land line OR
    • Web Access with a Minimum Bandwidth of >300 KB

Are there any other reasons why I should join Project ECHO?

Yes. Providers who join Project ECHO have excellent opportunities to participate in research, surveys, and opinion polls.

Does Project ECHO monitor health outcomes?

Yes. Outcomes research is extremely valuable in order to demonstrate the success of our programs.

How much does it cost to join Project ECHO?

Project ECHO is free. There is no cost associated with participating with Project ECHO.  

What is unique about Project ECHO?

  • Increases capacity in primary care—Project ECHO will simultaneously connect up to 50 providers in any one clinic sharing cases and experience. This method very rapidly expands the depth and breadth of knowledge of these providers to provide outstanding care.
  • Specialist mentoring—Project ECHO pairs case based learning with co-management of patients by primary care providers and U of U Health specialists. This type of learning and mentorship would not be possible in traditional telemedicine encounters.
  • Quality of care—Patients receiving care from Project ECHO providers have been shown to have the same if not better outcomes as those being treated in specialty care. Treatment is safe, effective, timely, and much more cost effective.
  • Provider education and satisfaction—Project ECHO not only improves care in the rural and remote locations, it also has the added benefits of connecting isolated providers, continuing education, and improving satisfaction and retention rate in areas where it is often hardest to keep good providers.