Project ECHO: Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (New Mexico)


The University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center (UNM HSC) developed an innovative and widely applicable model to provide treatment for patients with chronic, common and complex diseases who do not have direct access to specialty health care providers. This knowledge-on-demand model is called Project ECHO - Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes. Conceived as a means to treat HCV-infected patients in New Mexico's rural communities and prison system, Project ECHO can assist in diagnosing and successfully treat many other chronic illnesses and conditions. Project ECHO connects urban medical center disease experts with rural general practitioners and community health representatives over a telehealth network. This enables them to effectively treat patients on site who would otherwise have to travel to urban healthcare facilities for specialty treatment. Project ECHO has enormous potential as an affordable healthcare intervention in rural communities where certain chronic diseases have reached epidemic levels and healthcare resources and personnel are scarce. The purpose of Project ECHO was to educate, train, and support rural general practitioners or other available healthcare representatives on the best practice treatment protocols for complex diseases they encounter in their communities. This model focused on the principles of case-based learning and disease management using the telemedicine infrastructure and internet-based technologies to co-manage patients in community-based practices. The ultimate goal of Project ECHO was to provide the same level of healthcare to rural patients with chronic diseases as can be obtained in an urban setting. A secondary goal was to provide rural healthcare practitioners with a level of interaction and support commensurate with their urban counterparts to enhance their technical competence and decrease their feelings of professional isolation.

Grant Number: 
UC1 HS015135
Funding Mechanism: 
Transforming Healthcare Quality Through Information Technology (THQIT) - Implementation Grants
AHRQ Funded Amount: 
Principal Investigator: 
Arora, Sanjeev
University of New Mexico
New Mexico
Project Dates: 
September 30, 2004 to August 31, 2008
Project Status: 

Project Categories

Type of Health Information Technology: 
Clinical Information Systems
Interactive Video
Telehealth Technology
Care Setting: 
Community Health Center
Aspect of Care: 
Chronic Disease Management
Specialty Care
Target Population: 
Chronic Care
Hepatitis C
Rural Health
Last Modified: August 2015

News and Publications

Arora S. Project ECHO: Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes - Final Report. (Prepared by the University of New Mexico at Albuquerque under Grant No. UC1 HS015135). Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 2008. (PDF, 1.59 MB)
The findings and conclusions in this document are those of the author(s), who are responsible for its content, and do not necessarily represent the views of AHRQ. No statement in this report should be construed as an official position of AHRQ or of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Project Activities