INTRODUCTION: Project Extension for Community Health Outcomes (ECHO) was originally developed by the University of New Mexico's Health Science Center (UNMHSC) to build the capacities of primary-care providers and to increase specialty-care access to rural and underserved populations. ECHO Colorado, a replication site at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus (CUAMC), was developed with the same purpose and to help build the health workforce of Colorado. The CUAMC and its community-based partners recognized that by reducing unnecessary referrals to the medical campus and building primary-care capacity in communities, both would increase their scope and expand overall capacity. This study examines the key factors that influence participant engagement, how participants value the ECHO experience, and the utility of the ECHO Colorado experience according to participants.
METHODS: This study used a mixed-methods approach including 42 interviews and 34 completed surveys. Transcribed interview recordings were coded in NVivo 11, and codes were queried in NVivo and Excel to identify key themes. Survey responses were analyzed in SPSS. Data were examined between and across four attendance groups and triangulated to assess the reliability of the data and validity of overall findings.
FINDINGS: Key factors increasing registrant engagement included relevant and practical curriculum content; strong and supportive relationships among learners, ECHO faculty, and workplace colleagues; and innovative learning approaches that included opportunities for active, virtual participation through technology, participant management activities, and ECHO's unique curriculum design.
CONCLUSION: Findings from this study validated many of the important elements of ECHO Colorado that make it unique from other iterations of the model being implemented nationally and internationally and identified participant-driven strategies for further amplifying its impact.
Shimasaki S, Bishop E, Guthrie M, Thomas JFF. Strengthening the Health Workforce through the ECHO Stages of Participation: Participants' Perspectives on Key Facilitators and Barriers. J Med Educ Curric Dev. 2019 Jan 15;6:2382120518820922. doi: 10.1177/2382120518820922. PMID: 30729170; PMCID: PMC6350124.