Thomas Peter “Pete” Pirotte, M.D., in Jordan Valley, Missouri, first learned about the ECHO model™ several years ago when the federally qualified health center (FQHC) administrator, who is also a physician, suggested that he join the Chronic Pain Management ECHO in Missouri and provided him support to join. Dr. Pirotte found that the evidence-based practice guidelines provided through Project ECHO® are indispensable. He had looked before for some of the information discussed in the teleECHO™ clinic sessions, but could not easily find it in the literature. Participating in the teleECHO clinic sessions also offered him valuable perspectives from participating colleagues.
As a result of his participation in the Missouri Chronic Pain Management ECHO, Dr. Pirotte has become the go-to doctor for questions about opiates in his clinic, and he regularly shares new and valuable information from the Chronic Pain Management teleECHO sessions with his colleagues. When asked about the value of ECHO, he responded, “It is no question we are practicing safer, better medical care. I feel more empowered to educate patients and families. About six weeks ago we had a clinic-wide conference on benzodiazepines and opioids that was based on the information provided in a previous ECHO.” He also stated that participation in the Chronic Pain Management ECHO may have helped to prevent a death or two and has definitely reduced emergency room visits and hospitalizations. Fewer and fewer patients are experiencing bad outcomes.