Child & Adolescent Telepsychiatry

Project ECHO®

  • Project ECHO® in Telepsychiatry with Youth
  • Ujjwal P. Ramtekkar, M.D., M.P.E., M.B.A., DFAACAP

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  • Project ECHO® is considered a hub-and-spokes and learning collaborative model that uses telehealth technologies to build a virtual collaboration between Primary Care Physicians (PCPs) and multidisciplinary specialists.
  • The Project ECHO® model has particular relevant to Child and Adolescent Psychiatry as the gap between the demand for services and supply of psychiatrists is expected to grow and PCPs are expected to take on more responsibilities for youths' care. New models are need to leverage child and adolescent psychiatric expertise.
  • Current telepsychiatry technology has relatively low set-up cost that allows implementation of a hub with multiple spokes sites and PCP practices.
  • Other professionals in the youth's system of care may be invited to attend the collaborative meetings to meet the site's and provider's needs.
  • The Project ECHO® model fosters growth in PCPs' abilities to confidently provide care for children with mild to moderate mental health disorders while extending the reach of Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists for more seriously ill youth.
  • Patients are able to receive more consistent psychiatric care with their trusted PCP with reduced burden for their families.
  • By increasing access and building capacity, Project ECHO® holds promise to reduce disparities and improve health outcomes for youth in underserved communities.
  • Psychiatrists interested in the Project ECHO® model will need to strengthen skills in collaborative care and training front line providers

References

  1. Zhou C, Crawford A, Serhal E, Kurdywak P, Sockalingam S. The impact of project ECHO on participant and patient outcomes: a systematic review. Academic Medicine. 2016; 91(10):1439-1461
  2. New Mexico School of Medicine: About ECHO. Available at https://echo.unm.edu/about-echo/our-story/. Accessed Oct 4, 2018.