The number of experts available for the management of alcohol use disorders (AUDs) in rural and underserved areas in India is limited. In this study, a blended training programme was conducted for 26 primary care providers (PCPs) from nine districts of Bihar, in best practices for the management of AUDs. A two weeks on-site training was followed by fortnightly online tele-Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (ECHO) clinics for six months using the 'Hub and Spokes' ECHO model, accessible through internet-enabled smartphones. A questionnaire administered at baseline and after six months assessed changes in the PCPs compliance with principles of AUD management. Significant improvements were noted in compliance to principles in the management of AUDs based on self-report. Over the six months period 2695 individuals were screened, of whom 832 (30.8%) had an AUD Identification Test score of more than 16, indicating harmful use or dependence. The PCPs reported retaining 49.1 per cent of the cases for at least one follow up and needed to refer only 80 (3%) cases to specialists for further management. The ECHO model was found to be effective in training PCPs to provide quality healthcare. To confirm these findings, it needs to be tested in a large number of PCPs with a robust study design.
Mahadevan J, Shukla L, Chand PK, Komaromy M, Murthy P, Arora S. Innovative virtual mentoring using the Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes model for primary care providers for the management of alcohol use disorders. Indian J Med Res. 2020;151(6):609-612. doi:10.4103/ijmr.IJMR_1851_18