Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes): A new model for educating primary care providers about treatment of substance use disorders

02/17/2017

Komaromy M, Duhigg D, Metcalf A, et al. (2016). Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes): A new model for educating primary care providers about treatment of substance use disorders. Substance Abuse. 37(1): 20-24. PMCID: PMC4873719

Project ECHO is a model of healthcare education for primary care providers (PCPs) to receive specialized knowledge and mentoring from addiction specialists about treating substance use disorders (SUDs). Project ECHO was developed in New Mexico to increase access to specialized care in rural and undeserved areas. This article describes teleECHO clinics that assist PCPs in providing care for SUDs. PCPs were recruited through on-site presentations and word of mouth. Weekly, two hour teleECHO clinics are facilitated by specialists in addiction and psychiatric care and include introductions, announcements, trainings, didactic presentations on SUDs or behavioral health, and case presentations. Case presentations are conducted by participants and involve other participants asking clarifying questions and a discussion of recommendations and teaching points. Participants can receive continuing medical education credits for participating and sign up to receive training to prescribe buprenorphine. Since 2010, 654 unique participants have attended at least one teleECHO clinic, 285 participants attended more than one clinic. Participants who attended more than one clinic attended an average of 12.4 clinics. Based on cases presented during the first four teleECHO clinics between 2010 and 2015, opioids were the most common substance discussed in presentations, followed by alcohol and cannabis. Since 2006, the number of physicians listed as buprenorphine-waivered in New Mexico increased from 36 to 375, representing a more rapid increase in waivered physicians per capita than in the United States overall.