What is ECHO at CAMH and UofT?

Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) is a global capacity building model that started in New Mexico, and has expanded in numerous clinical areas throughout Canada, with over 170 clinical hub sites internationally. ECHO Ontario Mental Health at CAMH and the University of Toronto is a ‘Hub’ and ‘Spoke’ model of knowledge dissemination and capacity building, which aims to exchange knowledge between academic health science centres and healthcare providers using easy videoconferencing technology. Healthcare providers become part of a learning and support community, where they receive mentoring and feedback from the team of specialists. Working together, healthcare providers get the help and the support they need to provide care to their clients as close to home as possible.

Did You Know?

Since 2015, ECHO Ontario Mental Health has connected with 480+ healthcare providers from 140+ organizations in 14 LHINs?

Physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, pharmacists, social workers, counsellors, students, and so many more join our sessions!

It’s Free

ECHO is fully funded by the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care and is free for participants.

It’s Virtual

All you need is a computer and a web cam, or a smartphone.

It’s Fun

Connect with a growing community of primary and community care providers (including physicians, nurse practitioners, social workers, and more) across the province and build a Community of Practice.

Earn CME Credits

ECHO has been certified by the College of Family Physicians of Canada and the Ontario Chapter for Mainpro+ credits.

It Works for You and Our System

ECHO represents a significant opportunity to improve individual knowledge and skills and also reduce disparities in the quality of care for rural and underserved areas.

 

 
 
 

Please click this video to learn more about Project ECHO!


 
 
 

 

How Does ECHO Work?

Project ECHO builds a virtual community of practice by connecting specialists at CAMH with healthcare providers across Ontario using free, online videoconferencing. Each session consists of a didactic presentation based on the curriculum topics, followed by case-based learning.  During the case-based learning part of the session, a healthcare provider presents an anonymized client case to the community of practice for feedback and recommendations. In this way, primary care providers receive mentoring and feedback from specialists, building confidence, efficacy, and capacity for mental health and addiction care across the province.

  • Increases local capacity to provide timely access to specialist-level care in a local, culturally competent environment
  • Reduces need for specialist intervention and decreases wait times for specialists
  • Improves ability to assess and manage patients and their comorbidities within primary care
  • Reduces professional isolation and increases professional support by developing a virtual community of practice
  • De-monopolizes knowledge regarding specialized evidence-based best practices to reduce disparities in the quality of care

 

Project ECHO at CAMH and UofT

 

Project ECHO at CAMH and University of Toronto was launched to help primary care providers build capacity in the treatment of mental health and addictions. Since 2015, ECHO Ontario Mental Health has connected with over 400 primary care providers and over 80 organizations across Ontario. This project is fully funded by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and does not require any payment from primary care provider sites. All sessions are CME accredited at no cost.

  • Launched ECHO Ontario Mental Health

  • Launched ECHO Ontario First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Wellness

  • Launched ECHO Ontario Addiction Medicine and Psychosocial Interventions

  • Launched ECHO Ontario Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

  • Launched ECHO Ontario Trans and Gender Diverse Healthcare

  • Launching ECHO Ontario Structured Psychotherapy

  • Launching ECHO Ontario Advanced Practice

The Hub

ECHO Session

The Spokes

ECHO Session- Multi-Screen

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Cost?

All of our sessions are free, but require a commitment to actively engage in the peer learning community by sharing experience and presenting cases.

What Equipment is Needed?

ECHO Ontario at CAMH and UofT uses an internet-based video technology called Zoom. Participants can connect to the video sessions through their phone, tablet, laptop, or a computer with a webcam. Technical support is provided.

Is This Only for Physicians?

Any healthcare professional interested in engaging around a topic, sharing their experience, and learning from their peers can attend ECHO sessions. We welcome physicians, nurses, psychologists, counselors, social workers, healthcare administrators, community health workers, pharmacists, and public health practitioners. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Will My Case Presentation Be Confidential?

Only non-identifiable information is shared during the sessions. Our sessions are PHIPA compliant and a secure place to share information.

Can My Client Make an Appointment at ECHO?

Clients do not attend and are not seen during Project ECHO sessions. Instead, these sessions facilitate a way in which community providers connect to specialists and other community partners who help co-manage patients.

 
 

Testimonials

All I can say is thank you and I love ECHO. The clients that we see are very complex and working in rural primary health care it’s hard to obtain specialized psychiatric supports. It makes a huge difference to be able to discuss our complex cases with a group of specialists who provide concrete answers and advice on how to proceed. I’ve learned so much from the lectures, cases that I’ve presented and from cases that others have presented as well. It’s made a significant difference to my practice, my patients and my quality of sleep! Good for mental health all round – I can’t thank you enough.

Nurse Practitioner

NSM LHIN

I initially wanted to attend the ECHO Mental health project in order to gain more information about mental health, for use in my practice as a primary care Nurse Practitioner. Mental health is one of the most prominent issues that I see in my day to day practice, and therefore I am always seeking to gain further knowledge on the subject to enhance my practice. Little did I know that ECHO would also allow me to see that I am not alone in primary care, and that others are struggling as well. Through the didactic presentations as well as the case studies, we are able to learn about individual mental health disorders from the panel of experts, and then use real world cases to work through how to transfer that knowledge into practice. I feel that the face to face time between the psychiatric specialists at the HUB and the primary care providers through the spoke sites, has been vital in starting to bridge the gap between the two aspects of the healthcare community. Being able to get the opinion of your colleagues, as well as specialists in the field is so helpful when dealing with difficult, and even day to day cases that involve mental health. Thank you ECHO!

Nurse Practitioner

NW LHIN

I have been an ECHO participant weekly since its inception for the Northern Hubs. I have found this educational tool an invaluable support both for my own educational purposes with the weekly didactics sessions as well as the opportunity to engage with others in my field. The educational components have been most useful in that they are concrete in terms of application to our practice and are therefore seamless in transferring this knowledge into how we interact with patients. Of most value to me however has been the opportunity to connect with other social workers who clearly struggle with similar issues in their daily practice as I do. Being the sole social worker in a work setting can be very isolating. Attending professional development opportunities are often challenging due to distance, cost and can be time consuming. I applaud the ECHO movement that has found a way to provide group education, supervision and networking in an ongoing weekly format that comes straight to our office. For many isolated social workers that have practiced most of our careers in the North and often as the sole social worker in a work setting, this truly is a novel and rewarding experience. My hope is that long term sustainable support such as this project can be offered as it plays an invaluable role in support of those in the care providing roles and directly impact patient outcomes.”

Registered Social Worker

NE LHIN