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Healthcare PlexusCall: Project ECHO: Building Capacity for Specialized Care in Remote Places
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When: Wednesday, August 20, 2014
1-2pm ET

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Healthcare PlexusCall
Wednesday, August 20, 2014, 1:00 pm ET/10:00 am PT
Topic: Project ECHO: Building Capacity for Specialized Care in Remote Places

Guest: Erika Harding

MP3 File


ECHO Presentation (pdf)

The Affordable Care Act is bringing an estimated 32 million Americans into the healthcare system. Many of these will have chronic illnesses, and many live in rural and underserved areas. How will these patients be cared for? 

Ten years ago, Dr. Sanjeev Arora, a hepatologist at the University of New Mexico, became concerned because patients with chronic hepatitis C were dying, despite the availability of drugs that could cure 45-70 percent of patients. Waiting times of six to eight months to get an appointment were common; the long drive to reach specialists and the need for many treatments discouraged many from even trying to get help. The patients who did reach the clinic might be beyond the point where treatment would help. He wanted to expand his capacity, to share his specialized knowledge with primary care physicians in remote areas, so patients could be treated close to home.

This was the start of Project ECHO, which today assists providers in more than a thousand clinics with 26 specialties. Donald Berwick, former administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and former president and CEO of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, observed that Project ECHO’s model represents a fundamental design shift—"from moving the patientto moving the knowledge”—to build a health care system capable of meeting today’s soaring demands for care. "They’ve shown that with proper support the primary care workforce, including nurses, not just doctors, can function to very high levels of precision with highly complex care.”

Erika Harding, Director of Replication Initiatives for Project ECHO, will join the call to share the story of this successful idea, and where it is being used today. Please bring your own experience and add your voice to this important conversation.

Erika Harding, MA, IB, BA received her International Baccalaureate (IB) from the United World College of the American West, a BA in political science from Barnard College and did her graduate work at UNM in Latin American Studies. She served as UNM’s Representative in Mexico, while working as the UNM Latin America Data Base analyst for political and economic issues. She has a long history of work in public education, public health policy and health education, including working in the areas of reproductive health and melanoma prevention.

She served as Education and Outreach Manager for UNM Health Science Center’s Project ECHO®, and was responsible for the design and implementation ECHO's flagship Diabetes Community Resource Education Worker (CREW) training program, which has been the model for other CHW training initiatives based on the ECHO model of care. She now leads ECHO’s global replication initiatives, facilitating the U.S. and global scaling of the ECHO Model. With more than 50 ECHO replication partners worldwide, ECHO is being adapted to expand access to knowledge resources and meet the needs of underserved communities around the world.

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