Project ILBS Echo – Multiplying Capacities In Healthcare
Reaching out to underserved populations in healthcare is a huge challenge for both developed and underdeveloped nations. Healthcare providers are unevenly distributed geographically, concentrating mostly in urban and metropolitan regions, leaving out vast gaps in semi-urban and rural areas. Providing specialist care is even more challenging than providing primary care, due to obvious reasons. This is despite the fact that the demand for specialist care is high even in underserved populations.
Physicians providing care in rural and isolated areas frequently care for patient populations with high rates of illness, including complex, chronic illnesses that they may not be fully equipped to treat effectively. In fact, the lack of access to high-quality specialty care services is often a major problem, particularly for uninsured.
Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) is an innovative new model of health care education and delivery in New Mexico, USA, addressing the challenges of providing specialist level care in non metro settings. Established at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Centre, Project ECHO is developing capacity for safe and effective treatment of chronic, common, and complex diseases in rural and underserved areas while monitoring outcomes to ensure quality of care. ILBS is the first institute to replicate this model in India under the aegis of ILBS-ECHO programme with a goal to identify, treat and manage liver related disorders across the country.
Using state-of-the-art tele-health technology and clinical management tools ILBS-ECHO trains and supports physicians in the community to develop knowledge and self-efficacy on a variety of diseases not usually considered within their scope of practice. As a result, these physicians can deliver best-practice care for complex health conditions in community-based sites where this specialty care was previously unavailable. Using the technology developed Project ILBS ECHO aims to build on and successfully implement the ECHO model to the Indian scenario.