We’ve written about Project ECHO in the past and today we’re excited to bring you more information about this great initiative. ECHO (Extension of Community Healthcare Outcomes) is a not-for-profit project that was initiated in New Mexico by a hepatologist to educate community health care providers on Hepatitis C treatments. Weekly two-hour sessions include a small lecture followed by the presentation of patient cases by the community members who are attending via online video conferencing. The community members are often family physicians, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, chiropractors, physiotherapists, naturopaths etc., After attending the weekly sessions, community health professionals feel confident in initiating treatments that patients would have otherwise had to wait to see the specialist.
Ontario is the first Canadian province to launch Project ECHO and it is funded by the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care. For the last two years there has been a specific ECHO session for Rheumatology. There are also sessions for hepatology, chronic pain, and mental illness. I have had the pleasure to serve as the pharmacist expert for the ECHO Rheumatology sessions.
Last Saturday many of the community members had the opportunity to meet face to face at a ‘bootcamp’ held in Toronto. The highlight of the session was the patient partners who educated the community members on how they live with inflammatory arthritis. If you know of health professionals in the community that would like to learn more about rheumatology or the other sessions held by ECHO refer them to;
Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, University Centre
550 University Avenue Room 7-141
Toronto, ON M5G 2A2
Carolyn Whiskin is the Pharmacy Manager for Charlton Health. Carolyn specializes in the treatment of autoimmune diseases, pharmaceutical compounding, women’s health, pain and smoking cessation. Carolyn has won provincial and national awards for her commitment to patient care and public service.