Project ECHO: A Telementoring Network Model for Continuing Professional Development

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Abstract

Introduction:

A major challenge with current systems of CME is the inability to translate the explosive growth in health care knowledge into daily practice. Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) is a telementoring network designed for continuing professional development (CPD) and improving patient outcomes. The purpose of this article was to describe how the model has complied with recommendations from several authoritative reports about redesigning and enhancing CPD.

Methods:

This model links primary care clinicians through a knowledge network with an interprofessional team of specialists from an academic medical center who provide telementoring and ongoing education enabling community clinicians to treat patients with a variety of complex conditions. Knowledge and skills are shared during weekly condition-specific videoconferences.

Results:

The model exemplifies learning as described in the seven levels of CPD by Moore (participation, satisfaction, learning, competence, performance, patient, and community health). The model is also aligned with recommendations from four national reports intended to redesign knowledge transfer in improving health care. Efforts in learning sessions focus on information that is relevant to practice, focus on evidence, education methodology, tailoring of recommendations to individual needs and community resources, and interprofessionalism.

Discussion:

Project ECHO serves as a telementoring network model of CPD that aligns with current best practice recommendations for CME. This transformative initiative has the potential to serve as a leading model for larger scale CPD, nationally and globally, to enhance access to care, improve quality, and reduce cost.

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