Director, Comprehensive Epilepsy Program The Hospital for Sick Children, Ontario, Canada
Rationale: Project ECHO® (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) is an innovative model for medical education that uses videoconferencing to connect specialist multidisciplinary teams at academic health centres to community healthcare providers (CHCPs). Using didactic and case-based learning, each ECHO session fosters knowledge among CHCPs that can be translated to the care of their patients. In this way, patients receive best practice care without long waits or travelling long distances. Launched in 2018, Project ECHO: Epilepsy Across the Lifespan delivers pediatric and adult epilepsy curricula to improve the quality and accessibility of epilepsy care in Ontario, Canada. An evaluation was undertaken to evaluate the efficacy of this ECHO program.
Methods: From April 2018 to April 2020, Project ECHO: Epilepsy Across the Lifespan delivered pediatric or adult epilepsy curricula to 205 CHCPs via biweekly sessions delivered from 9 hub sites around Ontario. Pre and post ECHO surveys were performed to evaluate change in knowledge and skills associated with ECHO participation. To date, pre- and post-ECHO survey data is available for participants who have completed the Epilepsy in Children and Youth curriculum in Year 1. Results: Seventy-six percent of participants in the pediatric curriculum ECHO were pediatricians. The remainder were a mix of other health care providers. 26 of 49 participants (53%) completed the Post ECHO survey. Eighty-eight percent of survey respondents agreed or strongly agreed that ECHO improved the quality and safety of their patient care. Following the ECHO sessions, participants were statistically significantly more likely to agree they had sufficient knowledge and confidence to diagnosis, treat and counsel regarding epilepsy. Further, respondents were statistically more likely to acknowledge changes in their practice with regards to these areas. Seventy-three percent of respondents stated they shared what they had learned with other colleagues.
Conclusions: The ECHO model has demonstrated effectiveness in expanding knowledge, self-efficacy and practice change in the delivery of pediatric epilepsy care. ECHO shows promise as a tool to demonopolize epilepsy knowledge and enhance the care of children with epilepsy in their own communities. Funding: Please list any funding that was received in support of this abstract.: Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care