Project ECHO® Programs

C-TECH initiated a tele-mentoring and distance consultation program for PEPFAR supported sites in January 2018 via an Extension of Community Healthcare Outcome (ECHO) program.  This is a weekly clinical consultation program offered virtually to link care and treatment sites in Jamaica to a multidisciplinary group of HIV experts. This programme engages clinicians and support staff in a continuous learning system and partners them with specialist mentors at an academic medical hub.

The program is a collaborative model of medical education and care management and does not directly provide care to patients, but instead, it increases access to specialty treatment in rural and underserved areas. This provides front-line clinicians with the knowledge and support they need to manage patients with complex conditions and empowers them to provide appropriate HIV management to PLHIV accessing care in HIV treatment clinics. It subsequently assists in increasing HIV viral suppression rates among PLHIV and therefore helps to support the goal of HIV epidemic control. The program supplements the onsite mentoring, providing easily accessible cost-efficient clinical mentoring and continuing professional education. It allows mentoring to be conducted with more clinicians, more frequently, islandwide and fosters the development of peer networks and communities of practice that increase provider satisfaction.

Since its inception, the HIV ECHO program has been expanded to include Quality Improvement HIV ECHO, Mental Health HIV ECHO and Emerging Diseases HIV ECHO.

  • Quality Improvement HIV ECHO – Introduced in December 2019, the QI ECHO session focuses on health systems strengthening strategies such as highlighting quality improvement methods to improve or strengthen triaging systems in the healthcare facilities during the pandemic.
  • Mental Health HIV ECHO – The Mental Health HIV ECHO sessions commenced in March 2019 and focuses on mental health and substance use disorders. Sessions have been aimed at delivering presentations and the discussion of patient cases that highlight psychosocial issues commonly faced by PLHIV. The community then receives recommendations on how to address these. The sessions include Mental Health HIV ECHO sessions on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and HIV, Gender-Based Violence in HIV and COVID-19, and techniques on Motivational Interviewing
  • Emerging Diseases ECHO – The first COVID-19 case was confirmed in Jamaica on March 10, 2020 and the ECHO sessions were immediately modified to enable the ECHO platform to be used to update healthcare workers about the COVID 19 pandemic while still maintaining a focus on HIV, Mental Health and Quality Improvement topics. As a result, the first COVID-19 HIV ECHO session was held on March 11, 2020 and sessions consisting of extended presentations only and explored topics such as
  • The impact of COVID-19 on mental health in PLHIV
  • Quality Improvement methods to improve or strengthen triaging systems in the healthcare facilities during the pandemic
  • Adherence strategies for PLHIV during the pandemic
    • The impact of COVID-19 on mental health in PLHIV
    • Quality Improvement methods to improve or strengthen triaging systems in the healthcare facilities during the pandemic
    • Adherence strategies for PLHIV during the pandemic

There have also been several sessions providing updates on developments in the management of COVID-19. (Including study outcomes on Remdesevir, Hydroxychloroquine and Dexamethasone therapies).

  • Non-Communicable Diseases ECHO – C-TECH has seen the need to include non-communicable diseases educational content as part of the HIV ECHO sessions. The increase in life expectancy for people living with HIV (PLHIV) has direct links to the availability and effectiveness of antiretroviral drugs. They are however at a greater risk for the development of chronic non-communicable diseases such as Diabetes Mellitus, Hypertension, Cholesterol abnormalities and Cancers. As a result, it is imperative that healthcare workers managing PLHIV be offered the resources to garner adequate information on these topics to ensure holistic management of their patients.