TeleECHO Clinic Improves Physician Confidence in Osteoporosis Care

The Bone Health TeleECHO Clinic helps telementor healthcare professionals and improves osteoporosis care in underserved communities.
First Report from Clinical Osteoporosis 2017:
A Joint Conference of the NOF & ISCD

Use of a telementoring clinic for healthcare professionals in underserved communities demonstrated positive results, according to a study presented at Clinical Osteoporosis 2017: A Joint Symposium of the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) and the International Society for Clinical Densitometry (ISCD) from April 20 to 22, in Orlando, Florida.

Researchers from the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center in collaboration with the Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (ECHO) Institute and the Osteoporosis Foundation of New Mexico developed the Bone Health TeleECHO Clinic in 2015, aiming to transform osteoporosis care and lower the treatment gap.

The TeleECHO clinic held weekly videoconferencing sessions on osteoporosis, using interactive learning and brief didactic presentations on topics of interests to improve knowledge among healthcare professionals.

Participants were located throughout 33 US states and 4 other countries. In the first 15 months, 166 individuals registered, with 124 attending at least 1 TeleECHO clinic. Of the 124 participants, 65 (52.4%) were physicians, 30 (24.1%) were “advanced practice providers,” 15 (12.1%) were classified as other, and 14 (11.3%) were classified as unknown. Of the participants, 19 attended more than 20 TeleECHO clinics and 10 attended more than 30 sessions.

Participants registered for the TeleECHO clinics online or via fax. Once processed, their demographic information was collected and each session they attended was logged. Monthly feedback reports were recorded electronically and a self-efficacy assessment questionnaire was administered online to evaluate the effect of the sessions on participants 10 months after the start of the TeleECHO clinic.

Sixteen participants, 10 of whom had attended more than 10 TeleECHO clinics and had patient care responsibilities, completed the self-efficacy questionnaire. The results showed that there was a statistically significant overall improvement in confidence of treating patients with osteoporosis, with an “effect size” of 1.18 (P =.005).

“Replication of Bone Health TeleECHO Clinic in other US states and other countries may serve as a force multiplier to improve osteoporosis care and reduce the osteoporosis treatment gap,” the researchers wrote.

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Lewiecki EM, Weiss N, Bouchonville II MF, Chafey DH, Arora S. Progress report for 15 months of bone health TeleECHO Clinic: a strategy to improve osteoporosis care in underserved areas. Presented at: Clinical Osteoporosis 2017: A Joint Symposium of NOF & ISCD. April 20-22, 2017, Orlando, Florida.