Profile of cases discussed in innovative tele-ECHO mentoring program on addiction management

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NIMHANS ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) model uses a video conferencing app to connect multiple community health care teams simultaneously with addiction treatment specialists and builds treatment capacity via mentorship and case-based learning. The aim was to investigate the characteristics of 102 cases discussed by remote community health providers in 28 weekly tele-ECHO addiction clinics between January to July 2019. Among the presented cases, the lifetime and current use of alcohol was 80 % and 71 %, respectively, and that of tobacco was 60 % and 56 %. Results revealed that only 18.6 % of cases fulfilled ICD 10 criteria for alcohol dependence. Among alcohol users, the mean AUDIT score was 20.6. The patients presented to the community health providers earlier than that of the specialist treatment center. Hence this technology-enabled ECHO model can be considered for capacity building and increase access to care, particularly in low and middle-income countries where there is a significant scarcity of trained human resources.