Innovative telementoring for pain management: project ECHO pain


Joanna G. Katzman, Associate Professor of Neurology, University of New Mexico (UNM) School of Medicine (SOM); Associate Professor, UNM College of Nursing; Diplomat American Academy of Pain Management; Director, UNM Pain Center and ECHO Pain
George Comerci Jr., Professor, Internal Medicine, UNM SOM; Diplomat American Academy of Pain Management; Co-Medical Director, UNM Pain Center and ECHO Pain
Jeannie F. Boyle, Executive Nurse, ECHO Institute, UNM; Project Manager, NIH Centers of Excellence in Pain Education; Operations Manager, Army Pain ECHO
Daniel Duhigg, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, UNM SOM; Director, Addictions and Psychiatry Fellowship, UNM Department of Psychiatry; Medical Director, ECHO Access; Diplomat American Academy of Pain Management
Brian Shelley, Wellness Director, First Choice Community Healthcare-South Valley; Clinical Associate Professor, UNM Department of Family and Community Medicine; Research Assistant Professor, UNM Department of Psychology
Cynthia Olivas, Nurse Manager, ECHO Pain and Army Pain ECHO, ECHO Institute, UNM
Benson Daitz, Professor Emeritus, Family Practice, UNM SOM
Christie Carroll, Distance Education Eoordinator, ECHO Institute, UNM
Dara Som, Research Specialist, ECHO Institute, UNM
Rebecca Monette, Research Technician, ECHO Institute, UNM
Summers Kalishman, Assistant Dean, Medical Education Research; Director, Program Evaluation and Research, UNM
Sanjeev Arora, Professor, Internal Medicine; Director of ECHO Institute; Program Chair for Annual Update and Review of Internal Medicine Conference, UNM

Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 1-1-2014


Introduction: Project ECHO Pain, the innovative telementoring program for health professionals, was developed in 2009 at the University Of New Mexico Health Sciences Center to fill considerable gaps in pain management expertise. Substantive continuing education for clinicians who practice in rural and underserved communities convenes weekly by means of telehealth technology. Case-based learning, demonstrations, and didactics are incorporated into the interprofessional program that helps to improve pain management in the primary care setting. Method: Three different approaches were used to evaluate the program over a 3-year period: (1) evaluation of all weekly continuing medical education surveys; (2) aggregation of annual clinic data; and (3) assessment of practice change in clinicians who joined Project ECHO Pain for at least 1 year. Results: Between January 2010 and December 2012, 136 Project ECHO Pain clinics were held, with 3835 total instances of participation, representing 763 unique individuals from 191 different sites. Sixty percent self-identified as advanced practice or other nonphysician health professional. Statistically significant improvements in participant self-reported knowledge, skills, and practice were demonstrated. Focus group analyses of 9 subjects detailed specific practice improvements. Discussion: Project ECHO Pain is a successful continuing professional development program. The telementoring model closes the large knowledge gap in pain education seen in primary care and other settings. Expertise is delivered by implementing effective, evidence-based, and work-based education for diverse health professionals. Project ECHO Pain serves as a model for interprofessional collaborative practice.