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About Project ECHO

The Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) model was established in 2003 at the University of New Mexico, School of Medicine to develop the capacity to demonopolize knowledge and amplify the capacity to provide best practice care for underserved populations. The ECHO model develops knowledge and capacity amongst rural community-based providers through:

  1. Using technology (videoconference and Internet) to leverage scarce resources and create knowledge networks, which connect multidisciplinary teams of experts located at the Hub with learners at a Spoke site(s) through regularly scheduled teleECHO clinics.
  2. Improving outcomes by reducing variations in processes of care and sharing best practices.
  3. Case-based learning: guided practice through diverse, real-life cases with subject matter experts (SMEs) to facilitate learning by doing and create learning loops that create deep knowledge, skills, and self-efficacy.
  4. Tracking data (using HIPAA compliant tools) to measure teleECHO clinic function over time for the purposes of ongoing quality improvement.

This model is committed to addressing the needs of the most vulnerable populations by equipping rural community providers with the right knowledge, at the right place, at the right time to locally deliver high-quality care.

The ECHO model does not actually “provide” care to patients. Instead, it dramatically increases access to specialty treatment expertise in rural and underserved areas by providing front-line clinicians with the knowledge and ongoing support they need to manage patients with complex conditions.

Project ECHO for medication assisted treatment (MAT) is being launched in North Dakota through a collaboration between the Center for Rural Health, University of North Dakota, School of Medicine & Health Sciences, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota, and the North Dakota Department of Human Services.

Project ECHO and the Champion Prescribers are both components of North Dakota’s State Targeted Response (STR) to the Opioid Crisis grant, funded by the federal Department Health and Human Services (DHHS), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), administered through the North Dakota Department of Human Services.