What is Project ECHO? 

Project ECHO, which stands for ‘Extension of Community Healthcare Outcomes’, is an innovative and new way of learning in healthcare. ECHO is an online telementoring network that brings healthcare organisations together via video link, to form an online community, share best practices and support each other.

Project ECHO facilitates the delivery of a free and tailored programme of training and education across South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw to multiple sites where there is a training and/or education need. This then creates a community of practice that supports service delivery, sharing of knowledge, and support to staff, often in underserved areas.

Project ECHO’s mission is to make medical knowledge as accessible as possible for people all over the world and fosters a spirit of learning from each other in a safe environment. 

How does ECHO work?

Training and education are led by a specialist ‘Hub’ to multiple other healthcare sites, for example, Care Homes, and GPs, to share knowledge and expertise through virtual meetings, teaching sessions, and case presentations. Together, ECHO members can discuss particular cases which they have found challenging to manage and determine the best course of action together.

Project ECHO enables:

  • Specialist training to be delivered free of charge
  • Sessions can be attended by staff without having to leave their place of work
  • Opportunity for staff to discuss challenging cases with specialist teams and other colleagues in similar organisations
  • Improvement in the competency and confidence of staff in managing challenging situations
ECHO in South Yorkshire 

In South Yorkshire we have the following hubs:

  • 1 super-hub at St Luke’s Hospice (Sheffield)
  • Sheffield Children’s Hospital (Sheffield)
  • NHS South Yorkshire Integrated Care Board (Barnsley)
  • Rotherham, Doncaster & Bassetlaw Community Education Network (Doncaster)

Benefits of using ECHO

The benefits are myriad but if we take nursing homes, they report that the benefits are:

  • A more engaged confident workforce with increased knowledge on delivery of palliative care.
  • Improved team working.
  • Potential reduction in acute unplanned and inappropriate hospital admissions.
  • Nurses have evidence of education for revalidation with the Nursing and Midwifery Council.
  • Proof of continuing professional development for the workforce in EOLC for the Care Quality Commission.
  • Potential for improved staff retention.
  • Improved links with Community Specialist Palliative Care.

Each hub facilitates training in response to the local need and delivers a number of courses for example palliative care training to care homes, Learning Disability training to the system (across the health and social care sector in South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw), Long Covid training in Sheffield. These support the ICS priorities and are delivered to multiple staffing groups – see diagram.

For more information on each of the ECHO hubs the contact details can be found here:

St Luke’s ECHO Super-hub- Michelle McKenzie Smith echo@hospicesheffield.co.uk

Barnsley ECHO Hub - Rachael Goodyear - rachael.goodyear@nhs.net

Rotherham, Doncaster & Bassetlaw ECHO hub Teresa Candido- 01302 644787 teresa.candido@nhs.net

Sheffield Children’s ECHO hub- Jenna Whelpton  jenna.whelpton@nhs.net