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University of Idaho tackles opioid addiction through ECHO program

Posted: 3:54 PM, Jun 07, 2018
Updated: 2018-06-07 21:54:44Z

Idaho's ECHO program focuses on opioid addiction and treatment through videoconferencing and virtual clinics. 

ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) Idaho is administered through the University of Idaho in partnership with the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare and the Statewide Healthcare Innovation Plan (SHIP).

Echo launched its first teleECHO clinic in March 2018 focusing on opioid addiction and treatment.

An interdisciplinary specialist team uses video conferencing technology to connect twice a month with providers throughout the state for a brief lecture on an opioid-related topic followed by a case presentation and discussion. 

The ECHO model was developed by the University of New Mexico Medical Center and focused on the treatment of Hepatitis C. 

Participants say the program is designed to reach Idaho's rural community.

"I really believe the answer to the opioid epidemic comes in collaboration," Amy Jeppesen, a liscensed clinical social worker with ECHO Idaho said. "We have to collaborate, and it's something we are notoriously bad at, as much as we talk about it. The echo project has really provided a door for that to happen, and I really think it's going to have a profound impact on the state."

Any primary care provider who wants to improve their opioid management skills can join the video conference. More information is available at uidaho.edu/echo