Group of People Planning Ideas

Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) is a collaborative model of medical education and care management that empowers clinicians everywhere to provide better care to more people, right where they live. The ECHO model™ does not actually “provide” care to patients. Instead, it dramatically increases access to specialty treatment in rural and underserved areas by providing front-line clinicians with the knowledge and support they need to manage patients with complex conditions.

It does this by engaging clinicians in a continuous learning system and partnering them with specialist mentors at an academic medical center or hub. As the ECHO model expands, it is helping to address some of the healthcare system’s most intractable problems, including inadequate or disparities in access to care, rising costs, systemic inefficiencies, and unequal or slow diffusion of best practices.  Across the United States and globally, policymakers are recognizing the potential of ECHO to exponentially expand workforce capacity to treat more patients sooner, using existing resources.  At a time when the healthcare system is under mounting pressure to do more without spending more, this is critical.

Learn more about Project ECHO

There are several ECHO projects underway in our region that we are excited to share.

Nebraska: Pain Management and Substance Use Disorders

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services – Division of Behavioral Health, in partnership with the University of Nebraska Medical Center, is facilitating an ECHO curriculum on pain management and substance abuse disorders. The Nebraska ECHO Project began in early July 2018 and will continue through April 2019.

Curriculum goals include improving compassionate, patient-centered care with substance abuse and pain management and teach evidence-based principles for screening and treatment and harm and stigma reduction. The focus is early screening, self-efficacy for providers and offering tools and documented strategies for working with clients, including medication, referrals, lifestyle changes, early interventions and treatment.

This is an excellent opportunity for healthcare providers in Nebraska. A wide variety of topics are covered throughout the curriculum, including Difficult Conversations, Treatment of Opioid Disorders, High-Risk Patients and Suicide, Behaviorial Health Treatment Options and many others. There are 19 total classes offered as part of the curriculum. There is no cost to participate.

There is no fee to participate. Continuing Education will be awarded for the live activity for physicians and nurses.There is a CE pending request for Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselors (LADCs).

This project is supported in whole, or part by the State Targeted Response to the Opioid Crisis Grant #1H79TI080263-01 from SAMHSA CSAT and Nebraska DHHS Division of Behavioral Health. Healthcare providers, including physicians, peer support specialists, social workers, psychologists, etc., are invited to attend. Learn more and register for classes here.

Kansas: Pain, Opioid Use Disorder

In collaboration with statewide partners, The University of Kanas Medical Center is offering Project ECHO opportunities on a series of topics. The first ECHO project will begin in August; the subject matter is Pain. The first Pain session will be held on Friday, August 3.

Those invited to join this virtual community include primary care clinicians and their team, emergency medicine clinicians, behavioral health specialists, social and community health workers and public health professionals.

The Pain ECHO will include the following:

  •  Overview of pain
  • Assessment of pain
  • Non-opioid treatment strategies
  • Physical and psychological interventions
  •  Pharmacologic  and Interventional Treatment
  • Overview of Opioid Use Disorder

The Pain ECHO will flow into an Opioid Use Disorder ECHO. Other topics will include asthma, child behavioral health and airways.

There is no fee to participate. Continuing Education (CE) will be available for physicians, nurses and social workers. An AMA PRA non-physician Certificate of Attendance will be available for all other participants.

For more information on the ECHO Series in Kansas, click here.