The Northwest Heart Failure Collaborative (NWHFC): Project ECHO is a bimonthly telehealth education series for health care professionals and students in the WWAMI region (Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho). The goal of the series is to elevate heart failure care in rural and medically underserved regions by providing accessible education on evidence-based practices. The “hub-and-spoke” format connects community providers with advanced heart failure experts and is based on the Project ECHO education and clinical care model (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) developed at the University of New Mexico. Our heart failure Project ECHO is unique in that it is hosted by an interprofessional panel of clinicians (MD, ARNP, MSW, PharmD, etc.) As an advanced practice nurse, my role on the panel is to contribute my professional expertise and philosophy of care.
The NWHFC launched in May 2016 and has held 40 webinars to date. Over 70 percent of registered participants have identified themselves as nurses, advanced practice nurses or nursing students. Practice sites of participants have spanned from community clinics and regional hospitals in the rural settings of Montana, Washington, Idaho and Alaska to large clinic systems and academic institutions in urban settings. Feedback from annual surveys have been positive, with the majority of respondents noting the webinar series has provided them with knowledge that they have been able to apply to their practice, reduced their professional isolation and has improved professional satisfaction. Nearly 95 percent of survey respondents said they would recommend the NWHFC to a colleague.
The webinars have also been a useful tool when precepting students. The archive of webinars is available online, and students can view them in preparation for and throughout their clinical rotation. Feedback from students on this new resource has been overwhelmingly positive. Often, the webinar will highlight a patient case which prompts discussion amongst the webinar attendees. Recently, we had a case presentation on a patient with Takotsubo cardiomyopathy. Although this is a rare etiology of heart failure, it was interesting to discuss the distinguishing features that are important to consider when evaluating patients with chest pain and new heart failure symptoms. Overall, the NWHFC experience has served to enhance education for community providers, students and health care workers in multiple disciplines.
Find the archive of Project ECHO webinars at NWHFC.org.