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  • 28 November 2018 09:38

Project ECHO Connects Doctors on Zoom to Eliminate Hepatitis C in Australia by 2028

With over 230,000 Australians currently living with Hepatitis C, Project ECHO has set the goal of eradicating Hepatitis C from Australia by the year 2028.

Zoom Video Communications, Inc. a global leader in connecting enterprise organisations through seamless video conferencing is playing a key role in ridding Australia of the hepatitis C virus by the year 2028. Project ECHO, a revolution in medical education and care delivery that was brought to Australia in May of 2016 and has so far successfully diagnosed over 300 patients, uses Zoom as a tool to connect and empower General Practitioners (GPs) located in rural Australia with medical specialist in metro hospitals. Over the Zoom platform, GPs and specialists discuss individual patient cases to provide better care to patients who otherwise would not seek care or are unable to travel to a major metro hospital for a diagnoses or treatment.

Currently, there are approximately 230,500 Australians who have been suffering from hepatitis C for longer than six months[1]. Many of these cases go undiagnosed and untreated in rural Australia and within the indigenous population until permanent and, at times, fatal liver damage is sustained. These patients often don’t have the means to commute to a specialist for a diagnosis, or in the case of indigenous Australians, a lack of trust in medical providers. Additionally, many cases go undiagnosed due to GP’s not being aware of the signs of hepatitis C.

“Hepatitis C can be a devastating infection, that impacts thousands of Australians,” said Dr Miriam Levy, Specialist Gastroenterologist and Hepatologist, and Head of Department at Liverpool Hospital. “We have implemented the first Project ECHO service in Australia, which uses Zoom, to provide tele- mentoring over the internet and achieve, via case based learning, a learning environment where GPs feel confident to treat hepatitis C themselves without referral to specialists. In these Zoom meetings, specialists at Liverpool together with a complete multi-disciplinary team provide support for GP’s and other healthcare providers by discussing (de-identified) cases on line.

“Having the opportunity to see each other during a teaching session, makes it more personal and successful, this is so much more effective than webinars, where those learning cannot be seen. We can share materials, such as blood tests or imaging, using the zoom platform. This platform saves the patient from coming into see the specialist, and empowers the primary care doctors to become involved in hepatitis C treatment, as well as learn about other elements of liver disease that might assist their practice.

“Project ECHO is a life-changing and saving initiative that demonstrates how video communication has a bigger role to play in bridging the divide between rural and city locations,” said Michael Chetner, Head of Australia and New Zealand at Zoom. “Zoom is seamless to use and can support a number of people talking and sharing vital information. We are honoured to work with Project ECHO as they work towards eliminating hepatitis C in Australia forever.”

All specialists and councillors on Project ECHO volunteer their time, joining Zoom calls between office appointments or outside of office hours. Project ECHO is run out of Liverpool Hospital and has treated patients as far as Bowral, NSW but using Zoom has the capacity to begin diagnosing patients as far away as Darwin and Western Australia.

ENDS

About Zoom

Zoom is the leader in modern enterprise video communications, with an easy, reliable cloud platform for video and audio conferencing, collaboration, chat, and webinars across mobile devices, desktops, telephones, and room systems. Founded in 2011, Zoom helps businesses and organisations bring their teams together in a frictionless environment to get more done. Zoom Rooms, the leading software-based conference room solution, features video and audio conferencing, wireless content sharing, and integrated calendaring running on off-the-shelf hardware. Zoom Rooms suit any meeting or collaboration space, from small huddle rooms to world-class training centres. Zoom is a private company headquartered in San Jose, CA. Visit zoom.us and follow @zoom_us.

About Project ECHO

Project ECHO® (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) is a movement to de-monopolise knowledge and amplify the capacity to provide best practice care for underserved people all over the world. This low-cost, high-impact intervention is accomplished by linking expert inter-disciplinary specialist teams with multiple primary care clinicians simultaneously through teleECHO™ clinics, where experts mentor and share their expertise via case-based learning, enabling primary care clinicians to treat patients with complex conditions in their own communities.

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