Assessing and Expanding the Evidence Base for Project ECHO and ECHO-Like Models: Findings of a Technical Expert Panel

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

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)899-902
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of General Internal Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, Society of General Internal Medicine.


  • Project ECHO
  • capacity building
  • continuing medical education
  • distance learning
  • evaluation
  • evidence base
  • telehealth
  • telemedicine


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