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Telemedicine Initiative Expanded for Mental Healthcare

June 21, 2013
by Gabriel Perna
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Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes), an initiative that aims to increase access to specialty care to underserved areas through the use of telemedicine, will be expanded to focus on mental healthcare, and for the creation of a national institute that will replicate the model throughout the country.

Announcing this at a recent event in Washington D.C. was theRobert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), the GE Foundation, and the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center. Project ECHO, which was started by Sanjeev Arora, M.D., will get $4.6 million to expand the initiative for the purposes of mental healthcare among other things, according to MedPage Today. For this initiative, representatives from eight community health centers will meet with specialists from the University of New Mexico Health Sciences, via teleconferencing, to discuss mental health addiction practices.

“We believe that Project ECHO will be the new norm for healthcare everywhere,” John Lumpkin, M.D., senior vice president and director of the Health Care Group at RWJF, said in a statement.  “The ECHO Institute will work to advance that goal.”

The institute will aim to replicate the ECHO model nationwide, as well as ensure the integrity of the model, and to connect ECHO programs nationally and globally to mine data for disease patterns and establish best practices.

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