Project ECHO Ontario Chronic Pain and Opioid Stewardship at UHN


Management of chronic pain patients by Ontario physicians is often challenging due to large number of complex pain cases, lack of specialist access and minimal training of frontline care providers in chronic pain. In April 2014 Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) Ontario was launched to address this problem by supporting primary care providers in management of their complex chronic pain patients. ECHO has linked with over 150 care providers and over 50 primary care sites since launching this initiative.  

ECHO Ontario Chronic Pain connects primary care providers from across Ontario with each other and with two inter-professional pain specialist teams during weekly videoconferencing sessions.  The 2 hour  weekly videoconferencing sessions include a 20 minutes didactic  presentation related to pain care followed by  1-2 patient case presentations (de-identified) by participants.  The sessions are CME accredited for physicians and may provide continuing professional development hours for other health care professionals.

Knowledge transfer at ECHO is achieved by a case-based learning model. Each week, 1-3 cases are presented by ECHO  participants. Questions and suggestions are then provided by all participating PCPs and the inter-professional pain specialist team. All participants gain knowledge from listening to these cases and discussions, creating a growing network of PCPs skilled in managing complex chronic pain. Case presenters are  provided with a list of recommendations generated from discussions during the session that they can implement immediately with their patients.  

Following this model, ECHO transfers knowledge from ‘one to many’, building confidence, efficacy and capacity for pain care across the province. 
 
Any primary care provider (PCP) who wants to improve their chronic pain management skills can participate either individually or as a team. Physicians, Nurse practitioners, nurses, physician assistants or other health professionals can join.

Once participants feel confident and skilled in patient management, they may become resources in their community for other primary care providers.

Participants in ECHO Ontario Chronic Pain will receive free Continuing Professional Development credits. You will have access to expert support both during ECHO sessions and after hours if urgent situations arise.

If a highly complex case arises that requires specialist attention urgently, the Hub will facilitate a fast track referral to an appropriate specialist.

Other Benefits:
  • Gain knowledge through weekly presentations on topics related to pain care and opioids.
  • Receive Recommendations for management of challenging chronic pain patients.
  • Interact with PCPs from across the province to create a supportive network of pain management providers.
  • Opportunity to attend a 2 day skills based workshop session (ECHO Boot Camp)
  • Enhanced Confidence and skills to deliver best practice care to your patients, helping them to avoid long wait lists for specialists/pain clinics.
ECHO is classified as educational and not a clinical consultation. There is no patient relationship made between the ECHO hub members and the cases presented in the ECHO sessions. 

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