As part of its goal to ensure that everyone can get quality healthcare
regardless of where they live, the GE Foundation today announced a
three-year, $14 million grant to support Project ECHO (Extension for
Community Healthcare Outcomes), and its game-changing care delivery
model that exponentially increases treatment capacity for common,
complex conditions in medically underserved areas.
The Foundation's funding will help dramatically increase the number of
U.S. federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) participating in Project
ECHO nationwide. Through ECHO, community-based primary care providers
train in a select specialty area, such as HIV/AIDS or behavioral health,
so that patients can get the specialty care they need in their own
In addition, Project ECHO will partner with the Institute for Healthcare
Improvement to design and implement a quality improvement ECHO program
to support FQHCs in improving effectiveness and efficiency.
According to Dr. David Barash, Executive Director, Global Health
Portfolio, and Chief Medical Officer, GE Foundation, expanding the ECHO
model™ across the United States will help ensure that more people with
difficult-to-treat health problems can access the care they need,
quickly and efficiently.
"The ECHO model is transformative," Dr. Barash said. "Instead of making
patients travel to where care is available, as the current system does,
ECHO makes care available to patients where they live. It empowers
front-line primary care clinicians and creates new treatment capacity in
rural and underserved communities. As a result, patients get the right
care, at the right time, in the right place."
For millions of Americans, access to specialty care for common, complex
health conditions like rheumatoid arthritis or chronic pain is extremely
challenging. Many patients must travel hours in order to see a
specialist, while others forgo the specialty care they need.
Project ECHO creates new capacity to treat chronic complex conditions in
local communities by expanding the skill sets of the providers who are
already there. It links community providers with specialist care teams
at academic medical centers to manage patients who require complex
specialty care. Using basic videoconferencing technology, they
participate in weeklyteleECHO™ clinics, where primary care providers
from multiple sites present patient cases and work with a multi-
disciplinary team of experts to determine treatment. The team mentors
community providers to treat conditions that previously were outside
Unlike telemedicine, which facilitates one-to-one connections in order
to provide patient care, Project ECHO creates one-to-many connections
among providers to exponentially increase treatment capacity.
An evaluation of the ECHO model published in the New England Journal
of Medicine found that hepatitis C care provided by ECHO-trained
community clinicians was as good as care provided by university
specialists. The study also showed that the ECHO model can reduce - and
even eliminate - racial and ethnic disparities in treatment outcomes by
bringing more services to minority communities.
Project ECHO launched in 2003 at the University of New Mexico Health
Sciences Center, with a focus on treating hepatitis C and has since
grown significantly across the globe and across numerous other health
conditions. In the U.S., dozens of academic medical centers operate
teleECHO clinics that address more than 40 health conditions. Globally,
teleECHO clinics are running in 10 countries. The Department of Veterans
Affairs has its own version of Project ECHO, and the Department of
Defense has a global ECHO chronic pain management program.
"Everyone should be able to get the healthcare they need, when they need
it, where they live," said Dr. Sanjeev Arora, the liver disease
specialist and social innovator who created Project ECHO. "This support
from the GE Foundation will help make access to high-quality specialty
care a reality for people in rural and underserved communities. In the
process, it will save and improve many, many lives."
ABOUT PROJECT ECHO
Project ECHO is a lifelong learning and guided practice model that
revolutionizes medical education and exponentially increases workforce
capacity to provide best-practice specialty care and reduce health
disparities. 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 telementoring sessions with community
providers. In this way, primary care doctors, nurses, and other
clinicians learn to provide excellent specialty care to patients in
their own communities. Learn more at unm.echo.edu
and on Twitter @UNMProjectECHO.
ABOUT THE GE FOUNDATION
The GE Foundation, the philanthropic organization of GE, is committed to
building a world that works better. We empower people by helping them
build the skills they need to succeed in a global economy. We equip
communities with the technology and capacity to improve access to better
health and education. We elevate ideas that are tackling the world's
toughest challenges to advance economic development and improve lives.
The GE Foundation is powered by the generosity and talent of our
employees, who have a strong commitment to their communities. Follow the
GE Foundation at http://www.gefoundation.com
and on Twitter at @GE_Foundation.
View source version on businesswire.com: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20150720005391/en/
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