New York Academy of Medicine
- Project Title: Creating a Project ECHO Evaluation Guide and Toolkit
- Priority Area: Special Projects Fund
- Grant Amount: $55,000
- Date Awarded: March 28, 2016
- Region: Statewide
- Region: New York City
- Region: Outside New York State
- Website: http://www.nyam.org/
- Grant Status: In Progress
The Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (Project ECHO) is a tele-training model that connects medical specialists located at academic medical centers to rural primary care providers (PCPs). Originally developed to increase access to hepatitis C specialty care for patients in rural communities, the ECHO model has expanded to other medical specialties. By using Web-based videoconferencing, specialists help PCPs develop expertise in a specific field, which they can then apply to their patients. This has shown to improve health care delivery and outcomes, as well as reduce the need for and cost of specialty care. In 2014, NYSHealth supported the establishment of the first Project ECHO clinic in New York State, focusing on geriatric mental health in primary care. Despite heightened demand for and expansion of the model, program evaluation has not kept pace with the growth of ECHO. No clear guidelines on how to estimate ECHO’s return on investment are available, or how to make the business case for the model. In 2016, NYSHealth awarded The New York Academy of Medicine (NYAM) a grant to support the creation of the first-ever evaluation toolkit and resource guide for users of the Project ECHO model.
Under this grant, NYAM will develop an evaluation toolkit and resource guide for ECHO users working across multiple health conditions and settings. Specifically, the toolkit and guide will assist users with conducting process evaluations, measuring ECHO’s impact, determining the business case for the project, and assessing clinic sustainability to implement the model. The guide will highlight case studies of completed ECHO evaluations and highlight previous evaluation methods and metrics. In each section of the guide, resources available through the ECHO community, as well as external sources that facilitate evaluation and return-on-investment activities, will be outlined. Once developed, the toolkit can serve as a key component of Project ECHO’s global replication and expansion strategy.