Aims and Objectives:
The current study developed and tested an adaptation of the Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (ECHO) model. The ECHO model uses technology to connect medical specialists to doctors in different areas. This new program trained and mentored primary care providers (PCPs) in best-practice care for transition-age youth and young adults with autism spectrum disorder.
Sixteen PCPs participated in the ECHO Autism Transition program. The program consisted of 12 weekly 1-hour sessions. During these sessions, PCPs used Zoom to connect with an expert panel. Sessions included brief lessons from the experts and a presentation on a specific patient by the PCPs. The experts and other participants then helped walk the PCP through best ways to treat their patient. Measures of primary care provider self-confidence, knowledge, and practice were administered before and after the program.
The PCPs gained self-confidence in caring for youth/young adults with autism spectrum disorder. They also reported high satisfaction and several changes in practice. By contrast, no significant improvements in knowledge or perceived challenges were observed.
Overall, the results indicate that the model can improve PCP’s confidence in caring for transition-age youth and young adults with autism spectrum disorder. However, changes may be helpful for enhancing scope and impact on practice.