By Riamy Beuscher, communications intern

ehealth infographic
Photo courtesy of DES Daughter, creative commons

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.

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