The Missouri Telehealth Network (MTN) won a Global ECHO Excellence Award at the MetaECHO Global Conference last month for its depth and breadth of programming, focus on outcomes and success in improving the lives of patients and providers.
MTN initiated Show-Me ECHO in 2014, which connects local providers with multidisciplinary teams of experts. For example, the Hepatitis C ECHO provides support for primary care physicians who have never treated the disease before, allowing patients to receive care in their own community. The ECHOs facilitate virtual learning opportunities on a variety of topics and enable collaboration on patient cases.
Rachel Mutrux, the director of MTN, said Show-Me ECHO is specifically designed to improve access to high-quality health care for all Missourians. Individuals in every county in Missouri have participated in the programs, with almost 40 topics available for clinicians. To date, more than 10,000 health care professionals have participated in Show-Me ECHO training programs.
“We are one of the biggest statewide ECHO programs in the United States,” Mutrux said. “Health care providers can utilize the Show-Me ECHO program from the time they are in school and throughout their career. There are new developments, new medications, new technologies. ECHO can make that learning happen much quicker.”
Kristin Sohl, MD, professor of pediatrics at MU, was also recognized at the conference. She won the inaugural David Meyers Service Award for her dedication to addressing global health inequities and health care accessibility issues, shown through her work with Show-Me ECHO and ECHO Autism, which she founded. Sohl has started dozens of ECHO Autism programs around the world, and currently runs 10 ECHO Autism programs in Missouri herself.
“I’ve always been passionate about serving rural and underserved communities. It breaks my heart when I see families who are driving two and a half or three hours each way to come and see me,” Sohl said. “My team here at Mizzou – coaches, mentors, and other teams of specialists like me – use the ECHO model so that people in Kenya, Vietnam and around the globe can get better access to the best practices for autism.”
One crucial part of ECHO Autism is training medical professionals to feel comfortable when serving patients with autism and understanding them.
“We’re working with professionals to help them understand their role, but in the same vein, it’s significantly working to reduce stigma (with autism),” Sohl said. “What my team and I love to do is be able to help professionals see beyond that stigma. One of my favorite things that participants will say is, ‘Oh my gosh, these kids are amazing.’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah, they’ve always been amazing.’”
The David Meyers Service Award was a new award presented at the international conference, created to recognize those embodying the passion of David Meyers, MD, former deputy director of the Agency for Health Care Quality (AHRQ) and a physician, for deconstructing barriers to health care worldwide. He died three months ago.
“To actually be the one to receive this award, it’s a huge honor,” Sohl said. “It’s also very humbling. I love the work that I do, and to be recognized for that depth of commitment and working so hard every day to make sure that people’s lives are better – it was awesome to be honored for the things I care so deeply about.”
Mirna Becevic, PhD and Travis Jackson, a second-year medical student, also won a poster award at the conference.
Congratulations to Dr. Sohl and the MTN team on this accomplishment!