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ECHO Hub established by USD School of Health Sciences

Feb 25, 2020 07:00AM ● By MED Magazine

Overcoming the obstacles of distance and locally unavailable expertise is the objective of the ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) project, a videoconferencing case-based learning platform that can feed a knowledge-sharing network. A more specific ECHO goal is to create and foster telementoring between front line caregivers in rural and underserved settings with experts and other health care professionals who are able to share necessary information to improve patient and public health outcomes. 

Project ECHO: University of South Dakota is an ECHO “hub” established in South Dakota. A “Hub” serves as the source of health care information that is dispensed via webinar-type presentations. The “spokes” in the model are the local communities that receive telementoring and become part of the learning community.

A teleECHO clinic includes a short didactic, followed by case presentations from “Spoke” sites and discussion of the learning community. In many instances, those participating are able to earn continuing education credits. 

One ECHO project launched in January of 2020 highlights and combats opioid abuse. USD healthcare experts from the departments of Addiction Counseling and Prevention, Social Work and Physical Therapy utilize ECHO technologies to train addiction counselors from around South Dakota using a pain assessment curriculum. Counselors will benefit by the training to better understand pain assessment and treatment alternatives. These professionals are able to receive continuing education credits from the South Dakota Board of Addiction and Prevention Professionals (BAPP). USD’s School of Health Sciences has been using the ECHO model since July of 2019 to engage parents of and professionals working with deaf and hard-of-hearing children. Other applications for ECHO are being planned that relate to palliative care, trauma informed care, alcohol addiction, disabilities, and pediatric oral functionality.

“As one of the first hub locations in South Dakota,” explained Shelby Jepperson, MPH, CPH, CCRP, project coordinator for the School of Health Sciences at USD, “the School of Health Sciences is determined to have a positive impact on public health in the state. We intend to offer ECHO programs featuring a variety of meaningful topics.”