ECHO Pain Curriculum: Balancing Mandated Continuing Education With the Needs of Rural Health Care Practitioners

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Chronic pain is a common problem in the United States. Health care professions training at the undergraduate and graduate levels in managing chronic pain is insufficient. The Chronic Pain and Headache Management TeleECHO Clinic (ECHO Pain) is a telehealth approach at Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes), which supports clinicians interested in improving their knowledge and confidence in treating patients with chronic pain and safe opioid management. It is a vehicle for educating practicing clinicians (at the "spoke") based on work-place learning with cases selected by participants from their patient panels combined with short lectures by experts (at the "hub"). ECHO Pain has designed an innovative, interprofessional longitudinal curriculum appropriate for individual and team-based clinicians which includes relevant basic and advanced pain topics. The specific design and delivery of the curriculum enhances its relevance and accessibility to busy clinicians in practice, yet also satisfies statutory requirements for CME in New Mexico. Specific features which balance hub-and-spoke needs are presented in this descriptive article, which is intended to serve as a guide to other clinician educators interested in developing or implementing similar telehealth curricula.