Project ECHO: Improving access to specialist-level care, leveraging both specialist expertise and the community care infrastructure
July 26, 2011 1 Comment
By Alina Hsu
Ten years ago Dr. Sanjeev Arora, a hepatologist at University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center (UNMHSC), was frustrated: Patients with hepatitis C typically had to wait months for treatment, and fewer than 1,600 New Mexicans were being treated out of an estimated 34,000 residents with hepatitis C. Furthermore, the specialists were located in urban areas. New Mexico has a high proportion of residents who are poor and uninsured, and two-thirds of the population lives in rural areas.
At the same time, rural physicians and community health centers were frustrated by their inability to provide the complex, multi-specialty care their hepatitis C patients required. And the patients were probably the most frustrated of all.