A telementoring intervention leads to improvements in self-reported measures of health care access and quality among patients with complex diabetes

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Individuals living with complex diabetes experience limited access to endocrine care due to a nationwide shortage of endocrinologists. Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) is an innovative, scalable model of health care that extends specialty care to medically underserved areas through ongoing telementorship of community primary care providers. We evaluated the effects of an endocrine-focused ECHO program (Endo ECHO) on patients with type 1 and complex type 2 diabetes, and report here on changes in patient-reported measures of health care access and quality from baseline to one year after program enrollment. Patients were eligible for Endo ECHO if they were 18 years or older with complex diabetes. After participating in Endo ECHO, access to health care and diabetes-related quality of care improved dramatically. Our results suggest that Endo ECHO may be a suitable intervention for extending best practices in diabetes care to medically underserved patients.