Project ECHO-Geriatrics: Training Future Primary Care Providers to Meet the Needs of Older Adults

J Grad Med Educ. 2018 Jun;10(3):311-315. doi: 10.4300/JGME-D-17-01022.1.


Background: Geriatrics training is essential for future primary care providers. The Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (ECHO) model improves access to specialty care via case-based videoconferencing, but Project ECHO has not previously been designed to target residents.

Objective: We designed Project ECHO-Geriatrics to deliver geriatrics education to primary care trainees using the ECHO model and evaluated self-rated geriatrics competency of trainees from the University of Washington Family Medicine Residency Network programs who participated between January 2016 and March 2017.

Methods: We assessed outcomes of Project ECHO-Geriatrics through anonymous surveys. Participants rated didactics, case discussions, and geriatrics-specific knowledge before and after sessions on a 5-point scale (1, low, to 5, high). Participants were asked whether they planned to do anything differently in their practice and, if yes, to describe this change.

Results: Fifteen sessions were held with 204 unique participants from 12 sites, with an average of 28 (range, 13-41) participants per session. From the 9 of 29 (31%) Family Medicine Residency Network programs that enrolled, 63% percent (116 of 184) of eligible residents attended. Sessions were highly rated (89% of responses were 4 or 5). Self-reported geriatrics-specific knowledge increased significantly (before 3.3 [SD = 0.89] versus after 4.0 [SD = 0.60], P < .001). Sixty-five percent (118 of 181) of participants reported plans to change their practice.

Conclusions: Project ECHO-Geriatrics is an innovative, feasible way to train the future primary care workforce in geriatrics and grow the capacity to provide high-quality care to older adults.

MeSH terms

  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Clinical Competence*
  • Curriculum
  • Education, Medical, Graduate
  • Family Practice / education*
  • Female
  • Geriatrics / education*
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Male
  • Program Evaluation
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Videoconferencing