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Project ECHO connects community providers with heart failure experts


Susan Pambianco Optimized

Susan Pambianco

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.

Left To Right Kevin O’ Brien Md Faha Jennifer Beckman Msn Arnp Chfn Alice Chang Msw Darla Fagan Msn Rn Optimized

From left to right: Kevin O’Brien, MD, FAHA, Jennifer Beckman, MSN, ARNP, CHFN, Alice Chang, MSW and Darla Fagan, MSN, RN.

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.