Telementoring: a novel approach to reducing the osteoporosis treatment gap.
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Bone Health ECHO telementors healthcare professionals to develop the clinical skills needed to provide advanced levels of care for patients with skeletal disorders. The goal of this mentorship model is to improve osteoporosis care in underserved areas, decrease the need for referral to specialty centers, and reduce the osteoporosis treatment gap.The Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) model of telementoring has been shown to improve the care individuals with chronic hepatitis C. ECHO has since been adapted to the address unmet needs in the care of other chronic complex diseases and recently applied to the care of osteoporosis and metabolic bone diseases.Bone Health ECHO outcomes are assessed through an electronic data collector asking qualitative questions about self-efficacy. This is a progress report of Bone Health ECHO from its launch in October 2015 through May 2016.A total of 31 weekly Bone Health ECHO clinics were held over 8 months, with 43 individuals participating at least one clinic session. The number of clinics attended range from 1 to 30, with 13 learners attending more than 10 clinics and an average of 11 learners per clinic. Self-efficacy information provided by learners was diverse with many favorable anticipated changes in clinical practice.Bone Health ECHO telementors healthcare professionals in underserved areas to provide advanced levels of care for patients with skeletal disorders. The experience of Bone Health ECHO will guide the development of similar telementoring clinics in other locations. More data are needed to fully evaluate this novel approach to reducing the osteoporosis treatment gap.