Implementation of the ECHO(®) telementoring model for the treatment of patients with hepatitis C.
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We aimed to implement the Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (ECHO) telementoring model for hepatitis C and to evaluate its outcomes in the health providers. Following the ECHO model, an hepatitis C teleECHO clinic was established at the Hospital Italiano in Argentina. The teleECHO clinic provides support and training to physicians from Patagonia who treat patients with hepatitis C. In order to evaluate the teleECHO clinic outcomes, physicians completed a survey focused on skills and competence in hepatitis C before and after 6 months of participating in the project. The survey consisted of 10 questions, which participants rated from 1 to 7 (1 no ability; 7 highest ability). To analyze the difference before and after participation in the project, Wilcoxon signed-rank test was used. During the first 6 months of implementation of the model, a total of 14 physicians from 12 sites in Patagonia agreed to participate in the survey. The median age of the participants was 42 years. Participants' primary specialties were Hepatology (55%), Infectious Diseases (25%), General Practice (10%), and other (10%). A significant improvement was observed in all the evaluated fields after 6 month of the participation in the teleECHO clinic, namely fibrosis staging, determining appropriate candidates for treatment, and selecting appropriate HCV treatment. In addition, their general interest in hepatitis C increased. We successfully replicated and implemented the first teleECHO clinic in Argentina. Physicians improved their ability to provide best practice care for patients with Hepatitis C. J. Med. Virol. 89:660-664, 2017. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.© 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.