An innovative scheme aimed at facilitating communications across the HSC is proving to be an invaluable service during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Originally developed at the University of New Mexico as a way to meet local healthcare needs, Project ECHO uses multi-point videoconferencing technology to enable health and social care professionals and partners to share information through virtual sessions.
The ECHO model therefore moves knowledge, not people, in real-time collaborative sessions and this is particularly helpful while social distancing measures are in place.
Funded by the Health and Social Care Board, the expert team supporting Project ECHO NI uses the Zoom platform to facilitate education and training. The ECHO Model promotes sharing specialist advice and best practice across the HSC. The work that Project ECHO facilitates is very diverse and the model is a key vehicle for the delivery of ICP priorities.
A number of programmes have been temporarily suspended due to COVID-19 including Dementia Care and Neurology. Following the initial surge and response, these networks are planning to recommence in September 2020 and will use their established ECHO Networks to help recover and rebuild services in a changed world.
ECHO networks which are still delivering programmes during the Coronavirus pandemic include Community Pharmacy, Social Prescribing, Care Homes and SWAH District General Hospital interface with local GP’s. Almost 2400 people were involved in Project ECHO support networks in the month of April.
Dr Sloan Harper, Director of Integrated Care commented: “Project ECHO has enabled clinical professionals in various HSCB Directorates to progress their work within a safe environment and many clinicians across the HSC and volunteers and carers have benefited from being able to learn from each other and share good practice”.
For more info on Project ECHO: https://echonorthernireland.co.uk/
Or contact Áine McMullan in Integrated Care – Aine.McMullan@hsnci.net