UNM’s Project ECHO plans to bring pediatric care to children with chronic diseases in rural areas.

ECHO, otherwise known as Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes, was created at UNM’s Health Science Center under the supervision of Dr. Sanjeev Arora, who is directing the project.

Now, ECHO is partnering with the American Academy of Pediatrics, and their goal is to reach one billion patients worldwide by the year 2025, according to a University release.

The goal of the project is to make the connection between medical professionals at primary medical centers and their patients in rural areas easier than ever before.

“Under the ECHO model, developed at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, primary care providers in rural and underserved areas can discuss a patient's clinical care with specialists in large medical centers using teleconferencing technology,” a press release for the project stated. “The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) will serve as one of four new ‘superhubs’ for Project ECHO with the goal of expanding access to specialized pediatric care for conditions like epilepsy.”

That’s not all the project is about. It will also install “hubs,” or small installments, within those rural areas, too. Arora said in the release he thinks that this will be a much smoother connection between medical professionals at a large medical center and those who monitor patients in small areas.

“In areas where children with chronic diseases may not be able to access a medical specialist, Project ECHO provides a way for primary care physicians to work in tandem with specialists to care for children,” Dr. Sucheta M. Joshi, a contributor to ECHO’s curriculum dealing with epilepsy patients, said in the release. “This can be a powerful tool to educate and enable physicians to care for children with challenging medical issues in their community.”

Matthew Narvaiz a staff reporter for the Daily Lobo. He can be reached at news@dailylobo.com or on Twitter @RealMattNarvaiz.