Feasibility of project ECHO telementoring to build capacity among non-specialist emergency care providers
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to global disruptions in emergency medicine (EM) teaching and training and highlighted the need to strengthen virtual learning platforms. This disruption coincides with essential efforts to scale up training of the emergency healthcare workforce, particularly in low-resource settings where the specialty is not well developed. Thus, there is growing interest in strengthening virtual platforms that can be used to support emergency medicine educational initiatives globally. These platforms must be robust, context specific and sustainable in low-resource environments. This report describes the implementation of Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes), a telementoring platform originally designed to extend specialist support to health care workers in rural and underserved areas in New Mexico. This platform has now been implemented successfully across the globe. We describe the challenges and benefits of the Project ECHO model to support a Point-of-Care Ultrasound (POCUS) training program for health care providers in Kenya who do not have specialty training in emergency medicine. Our experience using this platform suggests it is amenable to capacity building for non-specialist emergency care providers in low-resource settings, but key challenges to implementation exist. These include unreliable and costly internet access and lack of institutional buy-in.