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Maryland Behavioral Health Integration in Pediatric Primary Care (BHIPP) has launched a web-based learning collaborative called BHIPP ECHO. The program is built on the “hub and spokes” design known as the Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (ECHO) model.
ECHO sessions connect BHIPP consultants with community PCPs to provide didactic presentations and case-based learning through real-time online learning sessions. Participants join ECHO sessions from their own desktop or mobile devices using free videoconferencing software. The goal of BHIPP ECHO sessions is to improve providers’ knowledge of mental health screening, evaluation, and in-office interventions, with an emphasis on both behavioral and pharmacological treatments.
BHIPP ECHO™ sessions are held bi-weekly or monthly and include:
• A 15-20 minute didactic lecture on a specific behavioral health topic relevant to primary care. (see PDF flyer for a complete list of topics).
• Case-based learning in which participating providers present de-identified cases (submitted in advance) for discussion with peers and a multi-disciplinary team of behavioral health experts.
• CME and CEU credit is offered at no cost to participating providers. Other healthcare professionals in primary care settings (e.g., nurses, social workers) can submit this credit to their respective boards.
Pediatric primary care providers and care teams (e.g., pediatricians, family physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, registered nurses, social workers, practice managers) are welcome and highly encouraged to participate.
Project ECHO was launched in 2003 as a healthcare initiative before expanding into other domains. It grew out of one doctor’s vision. Sanjeev Arora, M.D., a liver disease specialist at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center in Albuquerque, was frustrated that he could serve only a fraction of the hepatitis C patients in the state. He wanted to serve as many patients with hepatitis C as possible, so he created a free, educational model and mentored community providers across New Mexico in how to treat the condition.
A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that hepatitis C care provided by Project ECHO trained community providers was as good as care provided by specialists at a university.
The ECHO model is not traditional “telemedicine” where the specialist assumes care of the patient, but is instead telementoring, a guided practice model where the participating clinician retains responsibility for managing the patient.
Using proven adult learning techniques and interactive video technology, the ECHO Model connects groups of community providers with specialists at centers of excellence in regular real-time collaborative sessions. The sessions, designed around case-based learning and mentorship, help local workers gain the expertise required to provide needed services. Providers gain skills and confidence; specialists learn new approaches for applying their knowledge across diverse cultural and geographical contexts. As the capacity of the local workforce increases, lives improve.
BHIPP is supported by funding from the Maryland Department of Health, Behavioral Health Administration and operates as a collaboration between the University of Maryland School of Medicine, the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine,and Salisbury University.
BHIPP and this website are also supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $433,296 with approximately 20% financed by non-governmental sources. The contents of this website are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government. For more information, visit www.hrsa.gov.
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