mHealth Intelligence reported last week that the American Medical Association is supporting two telemedicine models that aim to improve provider education and patient access to care in rural and underserved communities. During its annual meeting, the AMA adopted a policy to encourage the implementation of Project ECHO (Extension for Community Health Outcomes) and the Child Psychiatry Access Project (CPAP) by academic health centers and community-based primary care physicians. Project ECHO and CPAP use connected health technology to give primary care providers in remote areas access to resources, peer support and specialist consults to improve care management for their patients.
Project ECHO is being used in more than 170 locations in dozens of states and 34 countries, and is the subject of The Expanding Capacity for Health Outcomes Act of 2019 (ECHO Act), which was introduced in May 2019 by Sens. Brian Schatz (D-HI), Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). The ECHO Act seeks to expand federal funding and technical assistance. The AMA identified the Project ECHO model as a “promising strategy” to help the nation’s care providers improve pain care and treatment, which in turn would help in the effort to control the opioid abuse epidemic.