Bone Health ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes), is a telementoring program for osteoporosis and metabolic bone disease developed by Project ECHO (http://echo.unm.edu/) at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center and the Osteoporosis Foundation of New Mexico (http://www.ofnm.org). This consists of weekly one hour “virtual” clinics every Tuesday from 12:00 Noon to 1:00 PM Mountain Time. The sessions can be attended from any location with Internet access through computer video connections, with options to join by telephone or in-person at the ECHO center in Albuquerque, if desired. Participants in these sessions are called Bone Health ECHO “Learning Partners.”
What does a Bone Health ECHO Learning Partner do? Responsibilities include using TeleECHO conferencing technology (help is available to set this up) to participate in weekly sessions for at least one year; participation in case-based learning through presentations and discussions; learning best practices in the care of patients with osteoporosis and metabolic bone disease; and monitoring outcomes through surveys and analysis of HIPAA-compliant databases. There is no cost to the Learning Partner for registration and participation. Benefits include no cost CME, networking with specialists and colleagues, relief from isolation in rural medical practices, improved medical knowledge, and better patient care.
Who should do this? This is for physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and other healthcare professionals who wish to attain an advanced level of knowledge of osteoporosis and metabolic bone diseases. The focus is on those who practice in rural underserved healthcare settings in New Mexico, although anyone in any location who is interested in participating is welcome to do so.
Interested? To learn more about becoming a Bone Health ECHO Learning Partner, go to the website of the Osteoporosis Foundation of New Mexico at http://www.ofnm.org or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. After completing a Project ECHO “Statement of Collaboration” online, you will be included in future Bone Health ECHO communications.
What is telementoring and what happens at the Bone Health ECHO Clinic? The ECHO model of telementoring is case-based learning where the Learning Partners retain responsibility for patient care while expanding their knowledge and confidence in managing complex skeletal disorders. By enhancing the skills of Learning Partners, allowing each to independently manage many more patients with skeletal disorders, the healthcare benefits are greatly leveraged. This is distinct from telemedicine, which typically involves a single patient treated remotely by a single specialist. Each Bone Health ECHO clinic session will consist of several case presentations and discussions, with participation of all Learning Partners and the multidisciplinary faculty team, as well as a brief didactic presentation of a topic of interest.
What is the goal of Bone Health ECHO? The goal is to improve the management of osteoporosis in rural and underserved areas, with Learning Partners eventually able to provide consultation services for osteoporosis and metabolic bone diseases in their practices and local communities.
What is the big picture? New Mexico Bone Health ECHO is a component of the Project ECHO Bone Health Learning Collaborative, a multi-state initiative to improve the care of osteoporosis and metabolic bone diseases throughout the US. New Mexico is the first state to launch, with others expected to soon replicate Bone Health ECHO, including Utah (University of Utah), Arkansas (University of Arkansas), and Alabama (University of Alabama at Birmingham). As time and resources allow, the Bone Health ECHO model may be expanded to additional states and other countries.
Please share this invitation with anyone else you think might benefit from Bone Health ECHO.
With kind regards,
E. Michael Lewiecki, MD