Pediatric Emergency Medicine ECHO (Extension for Community Health Care Outcomes): cultivating connections to improve pediatric emergency care

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An Extension for Community Health Care Outcomes (ECHO) provides the opportunity for specialists at academic medical centers (AMCs) and frontline community generalists to engage in bidirectional learning. Specialists provide generalists with the current best evidence, and generalists share the local challenges applying this evidence to their practice. All ECHO participants strategize how to navigate these challenges together. Pediatric emergency medicine (PEM) may benefit from this knowledge translation strategy because most children seek emergency care from generalists in community emergency departments (CEDs) where variations in care between the AMC and the CED have been reported.


Our objective was to use ECHO to cultivate a PEM community of practice that facilitated knowledge translation and generated future CED pediatric improvement initiatives. As such, we developed, implemented, and evaluated a PEM ECHO. We conducted general and targeted needs assessments to inform our curriculum and formatted the sessions to generate bidirectional learning. A postparticipation evaluation collected self-reported perceptions about knowledge translation, planned provider practice changes, and perceptions of the formation of a community of practice. Additionally, we solicited information on the implementation of any pediatric improvement activities attributed to the PEM ECHO.


Thirteen 1-hour sessions covered the chosen PEM topics. Participants represented diverse CEDs, with varied experience and roles in caring for children. All respondents (13/13) appreciated the ECHO learning format, reported improved PEM knowledge, and perceived the cultivation of a community of practice. Nine (85%) individuals attributed implementation of new pediatric improvement activities to the PEM ECHO.


Our PEM ECHO was associated with improved perceptions of PEM knowledge, cultivated a community of practice, and facilitated the implementation of CED pediatric improvement activities. The PEM ECHO’s bidirectional learning format generated new initiatives and partnerships aiming to improve the emergency care of children.