The Project LA Geriatric Knowledge Network (GKN) created by Partners in Care in collaboration with Project ECHO LA, is celebrating the signing in to law this week of the Enhancing Capacity for Health Outcomes (ECHO) Act. The ECHO Act expands the use of healthcare technology to connect underserved populations with critical healthcare services, transforming the way medical knowledge is shared and translated into everyday practice.
The ECHO Act is based on the Project ECHO model, which was first developed as a small-scale initiative at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center in 2003. Since then, Project ECHO has developed into a nation-wide network of “teleECHO” clinics, which use collaborative learning and care delivery models to connect specialists with other health care professionals via videoconferencing to facilitate case-based learning and share best practices.
Since October 2014, the GKN has used videoconferencing to provide community health centers and other providers with easy-access learning, and a platform to share and disseminate best practices in the rapidly-evolving field of geriatric medicine. The GKN has held 47 sessions with more than 100 providers participating. Topic areas have included nutritional issues in the elderly, managing behavioral symptoms of dementia, late life depression in older adults, problems caused by polypharmacy, and working with caregivers of older adults.
Commenting on the signing of the bill, Katheryn Howell, Project Director, Gero-Friendly Clinic Redesign & Health Self-Management Services at Partners in Care said, “We are delighted that Congress has recognized the incredible opportunities that technology-enabled collaborative learning provides to improve patient care and provider education.”
The Project LA Geriatric Knowledge Network has been made possible with the generous support of the Kaiser Foundation Hospitals –Southern California Community Benefits.