BACKGROUND: Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) represents a novel approach to addressing disparities in multiple sclerosis (MS) care. A primary mechanism of the program is the use of case consultations to rapidly transfer knowledge from content experts to community providers who care for individuals with MS.
METHODS: MS Project ECHO was pilot tested as a weekly 60-minute videoconference delivered to 24 clinicians across 13 practice sites over 41 weeks. Participants completed a variety of measures related to their experience in the program and answered qualitative questions via exit interview. We report on the responses to exit interview questions related to the case consultation component of MS Project ECHO.
RESULTS: Participant responses regarding case consultations generated four themes: 1) improved confidence among participants in the existing treatment decision, 2) direct change in the care of the patient provided by the participant, 3) changed practice habits for all of the participant's patients with MS, and 4) increased perception that patients had confidence in the participant as an MS care provider.
CONCLUSIONS: Participant responses support MS Project ECHO as a program that may directly and indirectly affect the way providers deliver MS care in underserved areas. Further research is needed to examine the resulting effect on patient outcomes.
Alschuler KN, Stobbe GA, Hertz DP, Johnson KL, von Geldern G, Wundes A, Reynolds P, Unruh K, Scott JD. Impact of Multiple Sclerosis Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) on Provider Confidence and Clinical Practice. Int J MS Care. 2019 Jul-Aug;21(4):143-150. doi: 10.7224/1537-2073.2018-014. PMID: 31474806; PMCID: PMC6709569.