Video conferencing for learning on children’s health

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General practitioner Dr Danielle James recently participated in the Project ECHO® video conference learning series on Kids behaviour and mental health. She shares some insights about filling a gap for children who aren’t able to access specialists.

Echo logoProject ECHO® (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) is a collaborative model of medical education and care management. Through Project ECHO® general practitioner teams use video conferencing for case-based learning with expert mentors. If you have a device (iPad, laptop, desktop) with internet access and webcam you can participate. A multidisciplinary panel provides content expertise, and other participants from diverse disciplines and sectors, and from diverse regions around Australia provide collegial input to fellow participants.

“One of the reasons that I chose to be involved was that I am seeing a lot of children with mental health or behavioural issues. There are many children who are not unwell enough for the hospital and who don’t have the resources to go privately, who we subsequently end up managing. To have some supervision around that is a great opportunity”, Danielle said.

“When you are dealing with families and children for long period of time you can get a bit of tunnel vision. Having multiple people from multiple disciplines giving advice on the same case and actually seeing it from slightly different perspectives is valuable. Being able to pull that together in one go is really helpful.”

Danielle appreciates the short didactic presentations included in each of the sessions.

“If you think about general practice, short sharp learning is actually what we do day to day. Giving us the key features in a didactic presentation means that the most important things will be picked out and emphasised and this builds on the background knowledge that general practitioners have to have across a wide range of conditions.”

Being able to hear the ‘whole patient’ through stories is paramount to providing whole person care and ECHO® enables this.

“When we tell the story of our patients there’s so much richness in that and we, as the participants, get that feedback time and again when we do the [case] presentation…We have the knowledge of the whole picture of this person, them in their context and what’s going on around them, so you get different feedback, different suggestions when you give that bigger picture.”

“The team is very good, very collaborative and it feels very collegiate rather than hierarchical.”

Past participants are welcome to join in the series, and continue with the virtual learning network or community of practice.

Project ECHO® is an international model that was adopted by Children’s Health Queensland Hospital and Health Service (CHQ) in 2016. An ECHO® series consists of weekly or fortnightly video conferences lasting 60-90 minutes. Each video conference session consists of a 10-minute didactic followed by a de-identified case presentation by one of the participants.

CHQ is offering seven different series: ADHD; Kids behaviour and mental health; Clubfoot and other foot anomalies; Childhood overweight and obesity; Paediatric persistent pain; Refugee kids; and Supporting teams caring for Type 1 diabetes.

For more information or to register your interest in an upcoming Project ECHO® series, contact [email protected], phone 07 3069 7120, or visit the CHQ Project ECHO® website


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