Diabetes and Hypertension Project ECHO connects providers across VA, shares best practices
Diabetes and hypertension are conditions that plague many of the communities VCU Health serves. These conditions are disproportionately prevalent in the disadvantaged communities that rely on VCU for care.
Due to the nature of treatment, diabetes and hypertension patients often navigate through multiple points of the health care system like pharmacy, endocrinology and general practice. Coordinating the cross-disciplinary care required can be challenging, which is why we at the Center for Pharmacy Practice Innovation launched the Diabetes and Hypertension ECHO.
The Diabetes and Hypertension ECHO is one of seven ECHO programs at VCU Health, which are all based on the ECHO, or Extension of Community Healthcare Outcomes, model of building learning networks that connect subject matter experts to practicing providers, clinicians and social health care professionals. VCU Health first began using the model with its Virginia Opioid Addiction ECHO in 2018.
The Diabetes and Hypertension ECHO focuses on creating a community of practitioners and educators at VCU Health and across Virginia whose goal is to ensure all patients with diabetes and hypertension receive the best care.
“The ability to review complex cases and hear perspective from the multiple disciplines represented in our participant groups, such as physicians, advanced practice providers, pharmacists, social workers, and more, allows for a truly inclusive and collaborative approach to challenging cases in a welcoming virtual environment. Given the significant shortages of specialist providers, particularly in rural areas, and the barriers that many patients may face regarding transportation, Project ECHO is a way to better disseminate clinical expertise more widely and reach a larger patient population through telecommunication,” says Dr. Trang Le, the program’s diabetes subject matter expert and assistant professor, Internal Medicine and Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism.
This program is open to all practitioners, including doctors, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, physician assistants, nurses and community-based clinicians, and other care providers. The biweekly, hour-long sessions are made up of short didactic lectures and case presentations where real, deidentified patient cases are discussed.
Participation is free and you can earn continuing education credits for taking part.
Each session targets a different area of diabetes or hypertension care, so there is always a new reason to join the program. Topics for fall sessions include GLP-1 agonists for weight management, SGLT2is for CKD management, diabetic neuropathy and aldosteronism.
Sign up for a session and learn more on the Diabetes and Hypertension Project ECHO website, www.vcuhealth.org/echodmhtn.