A distance education system for physicians, first developed in New Mexico, which enhances a state's capacity to treat opioid use disorder
Project ECHO (Extension for Community Care Outcomes) is a world-wide program designed to develop capacity for safe and effective treatment of chronic, common, and complex conditions, while monitoring outcomes to ensure quality of care.
Started in 2005, the teleECHO clinic based at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center focuses on treatment of substance use disorders (SUDs) and behavioral health disorders, with an emphasis on increasing buprenorphine capacity and initiation.
Participants join via video and see case presentations on behavioral health and addiction, interact with instructors, and are encouraged to register to obtain CMEs free of charge. Major functions of teleECHO include the rapid dissemination of SUD-related expertise and the recruitment of physicians for training to obtain waivers for buprenorphine prescribing.
The program was critical in helping to increase the per capita number of waivered physicians in New Mexico to the fourth highest in the nation in 2016. It has been replicated nationwide as a model to increase capacity to address opioid use disorder (OUD).
More information on the program can be found in these presentations here and here. Detailed information of the success of Project ECHO, in general, can be found here. A report on how project ECHO is applied to complex medical conditions, including OUD, can be found here.
A an adaption of the Project ECHO model was implemented in Oregon's substance use disorder continuum of care to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, as reported here. Another adaption of Project ECHO has been tailored to first responders.