Idaho’s rural areas are experiencing significant differences in access to health care.
With 35 of the 44 states in Idaho considered to be unregulated, the need for health professionals to address critical needs and what is happening in their areas is greater than ever. Access to health care in rural areas is difficult due to location, the elderly population and the shortage of medical staff. The shortage of doctors in Idaho for nearly two decades has affected the care they provide. This leaves Idaho areas with one doctor for every 600 people.
As is the case in most states, Idaho seeks to extend medical education to physicians working in Gem State. Continuing medical education is aimed at educating clinicians to better understand what is happening today. However, the types of advanced medical education available are often limited and expensive.
To address these issues, Project ECHO Idaho was established in 2018 to provide free medical education to medical professionals in rural Idaho. Using the rising cost of telemedicine, the program provides access to health care providers and therapists to access relevant information and best practices while receiving free over-the-hour free training each week.
In just four years, ECHO Idaho has helped more than 3,100 health care providers from 42 of 44 Idaho states to access more than 10,000 hours of free medical education. Gathering a wide range of professionals in behavioral health education, substance abuse education, and infectious disease education, ECHO Idaho shares high-quality medical information through Zoom video conferences to give rural doctors and health care providers the opportunity to learn relevant topics from anywhere. .
In 2022, ECHO Idaho assigned a team of 20 Idaho family physicians to pursue medical education after completing their Pediatric Autism program. The result of these efforts is that Idaho now has 20 physicians who have adequate knowledge of the health problems of children such as autism. Improving the skills of medical professionals in the field of autism is crucial in supporting early detection. Early intervention has a positive long-term effect on symptoms and future skills. While 20 doctors may not sound like many, Idaho ranks last in the country for pediatricians per capita; there are about 170 doctors of 450,000 children in the state.
ECHO Idaho is an expression of pride and solidarity among Idaho healthcare professionals who are committed to providing quality care to patients in rural and rural areas. In just four years, the program has become a beacon for health care providers in Idaho and physicians who want to improve their knowledge to help their patients. ECHO Idaho is critical to ensuring that physicians and health care providers have the opportunity to further their medical education which provides the necessary qualifications to continue practicing in Idaho. Without this, cheap and limited medical education will continue to push current and future doctors out of the state.
Part of the Zoom at a time, ECHO Idaho keeps your doctors informed of medical information and ensures that doctors interested in caring for Idahoan people reside in Gem State.