Project ECHO aims to connect community providers to academic specialists, deliver longitudinal clinical mentorship and case consultations, plus encourage dissemination of knowledge and resources. The impact on outcomes for persons with HIV (PWH) is uncertain.
PWH in Washington and Oregon, outside of the Seattle and Portland metro areas, January 2011 to March 2018.
Using viral load (VL) surveillance data, we assessed difference in the percentage of PWH who were virally suppressed among PWH whose providers participated versus did not participate in Project ECHO. Analyses included multiple mixed effects regression models, adjusting for time and for patient, provider, and clinic characteristics.
Based on 65,623 VL results, Project ECHO participation was associated with an increase in the percentage of patients with VL suppression (13.7 percentage points greater; p<0.0001), though the effect varied by estimated provider PWH patient volume. The difference was 14.7 percentage points [p<0.0001] among patients of providers who order <20 VL’s/quarter, 2.3 and -0.6 percentage points among patients of providers who order 20-40 or >40 VL’s/quarter, respectively (p>0.5). The magnitude of difference in VL suppression was associated with number of sessions attended. Among patients of lower-volume providers who did not participate, VL suppression was 6.2 percentage points higher if providers worked in a clinic where another provider did participate (p<0.0001).
Project ECHO is associated with improvement in VL suppression for PWH whose providers participate or work in the same clinic system as a provider who participates, primarily due to benefits for patients of lower-volume providers.