Project ECHO

A Revolution in Healthcare Education and Care Delivery

Project ECHO was built on the successes of Crisis Assessment Response and Enhanced Services (CARES) and Statewide Clinical Outreach Program for the Elderly (S-COPE)—two of Trinitas Regional Medical Center’s most innovative outreach initiatives. CARES is the hospital’s crisis response team for community-dwelling adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and co-occurring mental health and behavioral disorders. S-COPE provides a similar service to older adults in long-term care. The monitoring, coaching and regional training offered by the CARES and S-COPE teams were strictly on-site. Project ECHO now extends these vital offerings via the Internet.The extension of these services led by expert teams who use multi-point videoconferencing to conduct virtual sessions with community providers, provide excellent specialty care to individuals with complex conditions in their own communities.

What Is Project ECHO?

Project ECHO is an educational and guided practice model that increases workforce capacity to provide best-practice specialty care and reduce health disparities. The program uses virtual conferencing via a platform called Zoom to hold sessions with guests and partners, including; group homes, day programs, hospitals, nursing homes, and clinicians who manage cases for CARES and S-SCOPE. Partners can participate via smartphone, laptop, desktop or tablet. Family members of an individual diagnosed with behavioral health issues can also submit cases for review by ECHO experts.

Facts about Project ECHO:

  • Project ECHO is NOT Telemedicine.
  • It is not a billable service. It is free to participants.
  • It has a multidirectional flow of knowledge.
  • It allows partners to access an expert multidisciplinary team who provide mentoring, advice, and support.

How Can Project ECHO Help

The ECHO team, known as “The Hub,” includes psychologists, advanced nurse practitioners (APNs), social workers, behaviorists, geriatric psychiatrists, and professional counselors.

Project ECHO provides:

  • Best-practice approaches to serve individuals with complex problems.
  • A space to fully review the case and offer alternative solutions with the client’s best interest.
  • A tool to train community providers, facility providers, and students in social work, nursing, psychiatry, professional counseling, and psychology.
  • S-COPE and CARES provides follow-up service to assist the provider in implementing the recommendations.
  • Providers will have the opportunity to discuss the case again and determine if the recommendations were effective.

When Do Project ECHO Sessions Take Place?

Project ECHO sessions are held on selected Fridays for S-COPE and CARES, and are broadcast out of Trinitas Regional Medical Center program sites throughout the state of New Jersey. Another specialty ECHO involving Developmental Disabilities and Dementia funded by an HRSA Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Project, through which Trinitas partners with Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine/NJ Institute for Successful Aging, is available on a case by case basis.

Each ECHO session includes two to three case presentations and a brief exercise or didactic on a related topic. All information is HIPPA-compliant and de-identified for each case. The sessions last approximately 1.5 hours and can be accessed via Zoom.

* ECHO stands for "Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes"