Alexandria Neighborhood Health Services, Inc. (ANHSI) primary care physicians participate in Project ECHO (Extension for Community Health Care Outcomes), an innovative specialty care model that uses telemedicine to train primary care providers to safely and effectively deliver specialty care to patients who otherwise are not able to see a specialist.
Primary care physicians participating in Project ECHO are successfully increasing their knowledge of diagnosing and managing rheumatologic diseases. Physicians at ANHSI are improving patient health by using new knowledge to provide specialty level care in a primary care setting. Over the coming months ANHSI will continue to provide this level of care to current and new patients.
Three physicians from Alexandria Neighborhood Health Services, Inc. are participating in Rheumatology Project ECHO telemedicine sessions with the University of New Mexico. These physicians have also registered for the American College of Rheumatology’s online Advanced Rheumatology Course which requires a minimum of sixteen hours of training. Dr. Basim Khan, project lead for ANHSI, attended the 2013 Mid Atlantic Telehealth Resource Summit as well as a Project ECHO Orientation Session at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, NM.
Measuring the Impact
The first few telemedicine sessions were used for educational and orientation purposes. One patient was presented during a recent telemedicine session to receive a consultation and treatment under the supervision of ANHSI primary care physician. The goal in the coming weeks is to increase the number of patients participating in telemedicine sessions to improve the overall health of each patient. Skills learned by the physicians during the telemedicine sessions have been beneficial to the health of two rheumatology patients with a goal of treating at least nine additional patients.
Working Together to Help Patients
This project is successful due to the partnership and commitment of Alexandria Neighborhood Health Services, Inc. and the providers and staff working with Project ECHO at the University of New Mexico.
Alexandria Neighborhood Health Services, Inc. participants:
- Dr. Basim Khan, MD, Project Lead
- Dr. Geetha Mathew, MD, Medical Director
- Dr. Elise Morris, MD, Family Medicine
The mission of Project ECHO is to develop the capacity to safely and effectively treat chronic, common, and complex diseases in rural and underserved areas, and to monitor outcomes of this treatment.
There are more than 100 arthritic or rheumatologic musculoskeletal diseases and conditions effecting thousands of New Mexicans. Sero-positive and sero-negative conditions like arthritis, lupus, fibromyalgia, and the genetic predispositions of some New Mexicans to certain rheumatologic disorders can lead to diminished quality of life and disability if left untreated.
Rheumatology is a rapidly evolving medical specialty. Treatment of chronic rheumatologic disorders is improving with the introduction of new forms of treatment, and through early diagnosis. The Rheumatology TeleECHO Clinic is designed to provide a consultative link between specialists and community clinicians throughout the state. Its goal is to provide rheumatology consultations regarding any rheumatologic disease condition, and to train clinicians at distant sites to become experts in the care of these conditions and become a local resource for rheumatologic disease care.
Project ECHO is funded in part by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and has received support from the New Mexico Legislature, the University of New Mexico, and the New Mexico Department of Health.