Enhanced Primary Care Treatment of Behavioral Disorders With ECHO Case-Based Learning

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The Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (ECHO) model offers a way for primary care providers to develop expertise in addressing behavioral health issues of primary care patients. It provides an alternative to traditional continuing medical education (CME) for ongoing training and support for health care providers. ECHO uses videoconferencing to connect multiple primary care teams simultaneously with academic specialists and builds capacity via mentorship and case-based learning. ECHO aims to expand access to care by developing capacity to treat common, complex conditions in underserved areas. Participants in an integrated addictions and psychiatry teleECHO program reported that when they presented a patient case, the feedback they received was highly valuable and led them to change their care plans more than 75% of the time. ECHO is an effective model for teaching primary care teams about behavioral health and may be more effective than traditional CME approaches.