Assessing and Expanding the Evidence Base for Project ECHO and ECHO-Like Models

Findings of a Technical Expert Panel

Published in: Journal of General Internal Medicine, Volume 35, pages 899–902 (2020). doi: 10.1007/s11606-019-05599-y

Posted on RAND.org on June 03, 2020

by Laura J. Faherty, Adam J. Rose, Andre Chappel, Caroline Taplin, Monique Martineau, Shira H. Fischer

Read More

Access further information on this document at Journal of General Internal Medicine

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

Background

In 2003, Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) began using technology-enabled collaborative models of care to help general practitioners in rural settings manage hepatitis C. Today, ECHO and ECHO-like models (EELM) have been applied to a variety of settings and health conditions, but the evidence base underlying EELM is thin, despite widespread enthusiasm for the model.

Methods

In April 2018, a technical expert panel (TEP) meeting was convened to assess the current evidence base for EELM and identify ways to strengthen it.

Results

TEP members identified four strategies for future implementors and evaluators of EELM to address key challenges to conducting rigorous evaluations: (1) develop a clear understanding of EELM and what they are intended to accomplish; (2) emphasize rigorous reporting of EELM program characteristics; (3) use a wider variety of study designs to fill key knowledge gaps about EELM; (4) address structural barriers through capacity building and stakeholder engagement.

Conclusions

Building a strong evidence base will help leverage the innovative aspects of EELM by better understanding how, why, and in what contexts EELM improve care access, quality, and delivery, while also improving provider satisfaction and capacity.

Research conducted by

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/principles.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.