Supporting and improving community health services-a prospective evaluation of ECHO technology in community palliative care nursing teams
INTRODUCTION: Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) uses teleconferencing technology to support and train healthcare providers (HCPs) remotely, and has improved care across the USA. A 6-month pilot was trialled in a community palliative care nursing setting to determine if ECHO would be effective in the UK in providing education and support to community hospice nurses (CHN).
METHODS: The pilot involved weekly 2 hour sessions of teaching and case-based discussions facilitated by hospice staff linking with nine teams of CHN using video conferencing technology. A mixed-methods prospective longitudinal cohort study was used to evaluate the pilot. Each CHN provided demographic data, and completed a written knowledge assessment and a self-efficacy tool before and after the pilot. Two focus groups were also performed after the pilot.
RESULTS: 28 CHNs completed the evaluation. Mean knowledge score improved significantly from 71.3% to 82.7%
CONCLUSIONS: This study supports the use of Project ECHO for CHNs in the UK by demonstrating how a 6-month pilot improved knowledge and self-efficacy. As a low-cost high-impact model, ECHO provides an affordable solution to addressing growing need.