By Riamy Beuscher, communications intern
The University of New Mexico’s ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) telemedicine program will become the national model for promoting healthcare in under-served and rural communities.
Launched in 2003 at the University of New Mexico, Project ECHO provides professional development and focuses on connecting healthcare specialists with rural providers and patients through a telehealth platform. The hub-and-spoke model connects rural providers, or spoke sites, with specialists at a hub hospital.
In November 2016, the Senate unanimously approved the ECHO (Expanding Capacity for Health Outcomes) Act S.2873. ECHO’s simple, cost-effective, and outcome driven model has proven successful in addressing areas of critical demand. Initially the program focused on hepatitis C treatment in New Mexico. ECHO has since expanded to focus on a variety of diseases and high-need aspects of care within the United States and even internationally.
ECHO connects providers with a vast support network via telehealth platform, which helps to alleviate rural isolation. The ECHO program model uses technology to bring specialty expertise to providers and health care centers in under-served communities. To date, 103 partners and more than 6,000 patients have used the program.