What is a Project ECHO clinic?

During a Project ECHO™ clinic, using multi-point video technology, primary care providers in multiple locations present patient cases to a multidisciplinary team of specialists and discuss treatment options and recommendations. These case-based discussions are supplemented with short, expert-led presentations to improve content knowledge and share evidence-based best practices. The specialists serve as mentors, training the primary care providers in clinical areas that expand their expertise and knowledge of treatment and services to support their patients. Over time, the primary care providers operate with increased independence as their skills and self-efficacy grow. Providers also receive free CME credits for each Project ECHO clinic attended.


Why should I or my health center consider participating in a Project ECHO clinic? What are the benefits?

  • Physician Expansion of Expertise: Project ECHO is a unique program that enables providers to expand their level of knowledge for care that typically might require a specialist referral. It promotes providers practicing at the top of their license, treating patients with common complex conditions rather than referring them on. Increased patient retention and satisfaction results from treating patients at the practice within their local community.
  • Physician Development and Retention: Through Project ECHO, primary care providers acquire new skills and competencies. They become part of a community of learners, increasing professional satisfaction and decreasing feelings of professional isolation. For a health center, this means that providers can provide more services to patients, expanding access to care and creating opportunity for increased billing.
  • Continued Learning: Health centers and their providers also enjoy no-cost access to continued learning and specialist consultations during the Project ECHO clinics. This enables providers and health centers to be part of a broader network of collaborative learners. Providers also qualify for CME credits through their participation.
  • Increased Efficiency: Project ECHO has allowed practices to see more patients and to better utilize their staff to serve more patients overall. The model has also demonstrated that it can free up specialist time to see the more complex patients who need their level of expertise, thus improving patient access in both environments.


How much time can I expect participation in a Project ECHO clinic to take?

Project ECHO clinics last one hour and are scheduled early in the morning or at lunch to provide as little disruption as possible to clinic hours. Participating in Project ECHO from the office or health center, utilizing simple technology available on a computer with internet access and a camera, reduces the challenge of participation.


Who should participate in Project ECHO clinics? Providers as individuals? Teams?

Providers who service the vulnerable populations in the state of New Jersey are the first priority for participation in the Project ECHO clinics. Typically, practice participants include physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, social workers, counselors, agencies, etc.


How much does it cost to participate in a Project ECHO clinic?

Participation in Project ECHO clinics is free. The only associated costs are those for IT equipment (if needed) and time away from clinic hours. Most clinics already possess the required IT equipment to connect via video (internet and webcam), so no additional costs are incurred. The only associated commitment is attendance at 6 sessions over the course of a 12-session series.


What IT equipment is required to participate in a Project ECHO clinic?

The technology can be as simple as using a laptop, a handheld mobile device, a small room set up for one or two people, or a videoconferencing room to allow the participation of groups. We utilize a cloud-based system called Zoom (http://zoom.us). This system has a number of benefits, including the ability to run on lower-speed internet connections. Zoom works well on mobile devices such as iPhones, iPads and Androids, requires no appliances, and has web-conferencing features like chat and sharing. Rutgers ECHO will assist each practice with setting up Zoom and preparing for participation in the Project ECHO clinics.


How do I get no-cost CE credits by participating in Project ECHO clinics?

Participants who join Project ECHO clinics receive continuing education credits for each of the 60-minute clinic sessions they participate in for the full time. All CEs from participation in Project ECHO clinics are given free of charge once submission of the post-session survey is complete. Email the Program Coordinator for Rutgers Project ECHO directly for more information at Afigueroa@rwjms.rutgers.edu.

“We, unfortunately, are unable to offer CE credits for our Community Health Workers (CHW), and the COVID-19 Project ECHO sessions.”


When will I receive my CE credits?

All CE credits are distributed at the end of the entire series. All CME’s are distributed by the Department of Continuing Education. You will need to fill out a post-session survey each session you attend in order to claim your CE’s. Once the series has been completed and closed out by the DOCE you will receive your credits.

“We, unfortunately, are unable to offer CE credits for our Community Health Workers (CHW), and the COVID-19 Project ECHO sessions.”


Who Qualifies for Continuing Education Credits?

Credit Designation 

  • CME: Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Each session is designated for a maximum of one (1) AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™. 
  • CNE: Nurses should only claim those contact hours actually spent participating in the activity.
  • CPE: Pharmacists should claim only those contact hours actually spent participating in the activity.
  • Social Workers (The New Jersey Board of Social Work Examiners): This program is approved for social work continuing education hours by Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care in accordance with New Jersey administrative code 13:44G-6.4 and recognized by The New Jersey Board of Social Work Examiners.

“We, unfortunately, are unable to offer CE credits for our Community Health Workers (CHW), Nursing Home, and the COVID-19 Project ECHO sessions.”


What are the benefits of Project ECHO for patients?

The ECHO model improves health outcomes for patients while bolstering patient retention and satisfaction by improving access to care within the primary care setting for conditions that otherwise might have required a referral. With ECHO, patients with a wide range of chronic, complex conditions can be treated close to home, without waiting months for an appointment. The ECHO model has demonstrated that when patients are treated in their local communities, by providers they know and trust, it enhances their adherence to treatment and follow-up care.[1] Expert consultations between providers and academic specialists also directly impact the health of patients, who benefit from the provider’s increased knowledge of best practices.

[1] Sanjeev Arora, MD, Karla Thornton, MD, Glen Murata, MD, et al. “Outcomes of Treatment for Hepatitis C Virus Infection by Primary Care Providers.” New England Journal of Medicine. June 9, 2011.


Can participation in Project ECHO help me recruit and retain providers?

Project ECHO is a powerful tool in recruiting and retaining providers. Both in rural and urban areas, health center providers often feel professionally isolated. ECHO is a major selling point for providers, as it allows for professional development, continuing education credits, and access to a knowledge network of peers and experts. Providers participate in the ECHO model first and foremost to help their patients, and the model increases their capacity to do so. Increased provider satisfaction often results in greater provider retention.


Where can I go to learn more about the Rutgers Project ECHO program and how to participate?

You can learn more about Project ECHO by contacting the Rutgers Project ECHO Program Administrators directly Ashley Figueroa at anf46@rwjms.rutgers.edu, Amy Fisher at amy.fisher1@rutgers.edu and Ruben Nanez at ruben.nanez@rutgers.edu .

We maintain a standing open clinics list and will help you connect with the appropriate contact for the Project ECHO clinic(s) you are interested in.

How is the ECHO model different from traditional telemedicine?

The ECHO model is not “traditional telemedicine,” where the specialist assumes care of the patient, but instead is a guided practice model where the primary care provider retains responsibility for managing the patient with the support of a team of specialists. This model creates a collaborative environment for lifelong medical learning and sharing of information among providers on best practice treatment for patients with a specific set of complex chronic diseases and conditions. The ECHO model enables people in medically underserved areas, rural or urban, to receive the care they need where they live, from providers they know, with the support and mentoring of experts in the field.


What are Project ECHO incentives for survey completion?

What are the incentives?

A $30 Amazon Gift Card for each of the following completed surveys of Rutgers Project ECHO: 6-session, and/or case presenter survey completed after January 27, 2020.

Who is eligible to earn incentives?

Participants of the following Rutgers Project ECHO clinics: Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), Complex Endocrinology (Endo), Substance Use Disorders (SUD), Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome/Substance-exposed Infants (NAS/SEI), and, Pregnant and Parenting Women with Opioid Use Disorders (OUD).

Why are incentives being offered?

To increase the number of evaluation participants in Rutgers Project ECHO  6-session and case presenter surveys.  It is vital for the sustainability of the program to produce strong outcomes data that show participant impact.

When do I earn incentives?

Incentives are issued after the completion of the following surveys:

  • 6-Session Evaluation: After a participant completes their 6th session of an ECHO clinic series, they will receive an invitation to participate in the 6-session survey. After completing this 10-15 minute survey, they will receive an email from the Clinic Coordinator within 3-5 business days with the $30 Amazon Gift Card code.
  • Case Presenter Survey: After a participant presents a patient case on an ECHO clinic session after 1/27/20, they will receive an invitation to participate in a case presenter survey. After completing this 5 minute survey, they will receive an email from the Clinic Coordinator within 3-5 business days with the $30 Amazon Gift Card code.

 Can I earn multiple incentives?

Yes.  Participants are eligible to earn multiple incentives for completing  6-session, and/or case presenter surveys for each Rutgers Project ECHO series they attend.

What if I already completed a baseline, 6-session survey, and/or case presenter survey between 2016-2019?

Unfortunately, incentives cannot be applied retroactively, so all surveys completed between 6/1/16 and 1/26/20 are not eligible for incentives.  For specific time periods of eligibility, see below:

  • If a participant is new to a series in 2020, they can participate in the baseline survey. Baselines received after 1/27/20 will be eligible for an incentive.
  • As of 1/1/20, all participants will be eligible to participate in the 6-session survey since their count has been reset with the launch of the new series in January (Endo, Pain, SUD, and ACEs only).
  • For case presenter surveys, only those presenters who presented after 1/27/20 will be eligible to earn an incentive for completing the survey.

I just completed a survey, when should I expect to receive the incentive?

A code will be issued in an email from the Clinic Coordinator

How do I redeem the incentive?

When you receive the Amazon Gift Card code in your email, you can enter it into Amazon to redeem.  For specific instructions on how to redeem a code, click here.  To read Amazon Gift Cards Terms & Conditions, click here.  Please note, Amazon Gift Cards do not expire and are participant specific.

 Who should I contact if I have any additional questions/concerns about the incentives?

Reach out to our Clinic Coordinator for more assistance: Ashley Figueroa, anf46@rwjms.rutgers.edu, (732) 881-0502.