Background. To increase human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) care capacity in our region, we designed a distance mentorship and consultation program based on the Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) model, which uses real-time interactive video to regularly connect community providers with a multidisciplinary team of academic specialists. This analysis will (1) describe key components of our program, (2) report types of clinical problems for which providers requested remote consultation over the first 3.5 years of the program, and (3) evaluate changes in participants' self-assessed HIV care confidence and knowledge over the study period. Methods. We prospectively tracked types of clinical problems for which providers sought consultation. At baseline and regular intervals, providers completed self-efficacy assessments. We compared means using paired-samples t test and examined the statistical relationship between each survey item and level of participation using analysis of variance. Results. Providers most frequently sought consultation for changing antiretroviral therapy, evaluating acute symptomatology, and managing mental health issues. Forty-five clinicians completed a baseline and at least 1 repeat assessment. Results demonstrated significant increase (P < .05) in participants' self-reported confidence to provide a number of essential elements of HIV care. Significant increases were also reported in feeling part of an HIV community of practice and feeling professionally connected to academic faculty, which correlated with level of program engagement. Conclusions. Community HIV practitioners frequently sought support on clinical issues for which no strict guidelines exist. Telehealth innovation increased providers' self-efficacy and knowledge while decreasing professional isolation. The ECHO model creates a virtual network for peer-to-peer support and longitudinal mentorship, thus strengthening capacity of the HIV workforce.
Wood BR, Unruh KT, Martinez-Paz N, Annese M, Ramers CB, Harrington RD, Dhanireddy S, Kimmerly L, Scott JD, Spach DH. Impact of a Telehealth Program That Delivers Remote Consultation and Longitudinal Mentorship to Community HIV Providers. Open Forum Infect Dis. 2016 Jun 20;3(3):ofw123. doi: 10.1093/ofid/ofw123. PMID: 27703991; PMCID: PMC5047402.