Project ECHO Technical Assistance Initiative
The SAMHSA-HRSA Center for Integrated Health Solutions (CIHS) sponsored 10 HRSA-funded community health centers in January 2016 to participate in a 12-month learning community. This project aimed to improve the providers’ ability to provide medication and other services to treat opioid dependence. The learning community was run by Community Health Centers’ Inc. (CHC) Weitzman Institute using the Project ECHO (Extension for Community Health Outcomes) collaborative learning model.
Key Program Outcomes
CIHS tracked the progress of the 10 participating health centers to assess how Project ECHO supported the adoption of services and supports for opioid dependence.
The charts below highlight key metrics reported every three months over the 12-month period. Numbers in parentheses are baseline numbers provided by participating organizations in their original application.
|Patient/Organizational Measure||January – April||May – August||September – December||Project Total|
|Number of patients screened for substance use||13,557 patients||16,853 patients||12,382 patients||42,792 patients|
|Number of patients screened positive for opioid misuse or dependence||1,461 patients||2,305 patients||1,390 patients||5,156 patients|
|Number of patients receiving buprenorphine treatment for opioid dependence||227 patients||300 patients||423 patients||(366) 950 patients|
Increased use of buprenorphine treatment for opioid dependence
The number of patients receiving buprenorphine increased by 86% from the first three months to the final three months of the project.
Added Workforce/Policy Measures
|Number of non-prescribing staff trained in MAT||(18) 113 staff|
|Number of prescribing (DATA waivered) staff trained in MAT||(21) 75 staff|
|Number of doctors on staff receiving buprenorphine (DATA) waiver||48 staff|
|Number of organizational-level policy changes specific to substance use/MAT completed||40 policies|
|Number of formal/informal agreements developed with outside substance use treatment providers or prescribers||40 agreements|
|Number of internal training, TA and dissemination activities related to substance abuse||102 activities|
Based on the data collected, the technical assistance provided by Project ECHO resulted in practice change in the areas of clinical, operational and workforce for participating organizations. As shown in the above charts, this technical assistance lead to a significant increase in the number of patients treated for opioid use with buprenorphine and significant increases in staff members trained in MAT. Providers were overall satisfied with their participation with the Project ECHO initiative and reported that Project ECHO continues to be a useful tool to support their efforts to increase use of buprenorphine treatment for opioid abuse.
For more information on Project ECHO, contact Aaron Williams, Senior Director of Training and Technical Assistance for Substance Use at CIHS, at AaronW@TheNationalCouncil.org or at 202.684.7462
For more information on integrating medication assisted treatment into your practice, visit our MAT Overview page.