- Nitin Chopra MD, DABPN, Psychiatrist, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, ON
- Noah Brierley BA, Research Analyst, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, ON
- Wiplove Lamba MD, FRCPC, Dip ABAM, Psychiatrist, St Michael's Hospital, Toronto, ON
- Renisha Iruthayanathan, BSc, Information Specialist, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, ON
- Natalie Kelly
- Cheryl Pereira
- Sunny Wang
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on individuals who use substances (IWUS). Increased risk of infection and overdose, combined with the strain on mental health and addiction services has highlighted issues surrounding access to quality addictions care. Project Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes-Ontario Addiction Medicine and Psychosocial Interventions (ECHO-AMPI) is a virtual continuing professional development (CPD) program, making it uniquely positioned to provide support to healthcare professionals (HCPs) working with IWUS during the pandemic. ECHO-AMPI connects an inter-disciplinary team of subject matter experts with Ontario HCPs weekly to discuss client cases and best practices in supporting IWUS. ECHO-AMPI Cycle 3’s (Modules 1-3) impact on building addictions care capacity was evaluated using Moore’s evaluation framework for CPD. Satisfaction was assessed after each session using a five-point Likert scale. Participants also rated their confidence in core competency areas pre- and post-participation using a 0-100 confidence scale. Competencies reflected assessment, treatment and management of addictions. Post-ECHO, participants were asked to rate their overall satisfaction with the program and self-report whether ECHO-AMPI participation resulted in a change in their practice. Across the three modules there were 219 unique HCPs from 155 different organizations across Ontario. Average session attendance was 67 participants. Mean satisfaction scores were high (>4.35/5), and there was a 13% improvement in participants’ confidence in addictions care (p<.001). 69% of participants reported changing their practice following participation. Our findings suggest ECHO-AMPI is an effective educational intervention that builds HCP confidence and capacity to support IWUS during COVID-19. High participant engagement and satisfaction scores demonstrate that addictions care-focused CPD can be successfully delivered virtually during COVID-19.
- Describe the ECHO model and how it can support healthcare professionals who work with individuals who use substances.
- Reflect on the ECHO model as an education tool that may be used to disseminate best practices in management of addictions among healthcare providers.
- Identify the ways in which the ECHO model has been effective in responding to the needs of healthcare providers during the COVID-19 pandemic