Our ECHO journey video


Australia is a vast place.

And for many children and young people, access to best-practice healthcare is challenging. Often, it’s not because the knowledge isn’t there… it’s because it isn’t available at the right place, at the right time.

But what if a solution to this problem already exists?

Hello my name's Gordon, I’m a GP down in the Central Coast in New South Wales.

Hi I’m Gayle, I’m a Guidance Officer at The Ipswich State High School.

ECHO is a model of tele-mentoring. The Echo model can be used to bring together experts from any field to a single place using the video conferencing platform. So it removes geography as a barrier to participation and learning.

G'day I’m Shaughn, I'm a Specialist Supports Coordinator at Sunshine Specialist Supports at Mudjimba, from the Sunshine Coast.

And I'm based in Tamworth New South Wales. I’ve got a young person who’s unfortunately complaining of being bullied at school, so I’m looking at different things we can do to support them better in the school environment if possible.

It’s more than just a video call or a webinar, Echo is an interactive, conversational community of practice, linking likeminded learners.

It would be great to work collaboratively with those services that you're talking about in the community Gordon, so that we can support this person to overcome the bullying, but also to address the mental health issues. The panel and the participants are learning and sharing together, based on case discussions.

It is very conversational, and it really is about bringing in the different perspectives of the participants, and it’s not about sitting and receiving and listening to a lecture, like an online uni experience, it’s much more about coming to share ideas and knowledge and build new ideas and knowledge through that process of sharing.

Yeah, I think having the community of practice, everybody’s got a valued role, and we want to hear from everybody because there’s
something unique that everyone brings to it. It’s already being used successfully at Children’s Health Queensland to solve some of the biggest problems that children and young people face.

So in terms of how Echo can work in the health sector - the networks that we provide we invite participation from general practice
audiences, allied health, primary care, education,  disability, so a frontline provider in any discipline can present a case from their local practice and challenges that they're facing in in that particular case, for advice from a multi -disciplinary panel.

I come from a disability background, so I get to learn about what's happening in the education sector, the health
sector, the child safety sector. Therefore I can provide a more holistic service to my participants. So to be able to learn all of this from a single online platform once a fortnight, this is brilliant.

That's a great suggestion Gayle, I might be able to use that for one of my cases as well.

There’s a lot of stuff that I just didn’t know about that I’m learning through this process. So in my quest to continually improve my services, this is one of the best platforms I've encountered in over 30 years of working in the sector.

Echo is all about moving knowledge, instead of people. For the past year I’ve been involved in project echo an it’s been a great opportunity for me to collaborate with other education and health professionals. So the work I do here at Ipswich State High School is to support young people years 7 to 12, and this is a very interesting community, because we have a group of young people who are often very vulnerable, in out-of-home care, we’ve got a large indigenous population at our school, and we also have quite a large LGBTIQA+ group of young students. So participating in Project Echo, it provides a range of strategies and recommendations for the people I work with and support in schools. So I’m still in the school grounds when I’m participating in Project Echo, so I can meet with that young person on that day, talk to parents, stakeholders, and follow through with those recommendations there and then. So it’s a very quick process and it enables me to get the job done. I try to participate every fortnight, because I think although I’m not presenting a case every fortnight, the information, the recommendations, the strategies that other people are talking about with their cases certainly help the work that I’m doing in schools.

It’s particularly useful in rural, remote and regional locations, where sharing knowledge means some patients can be supported locally instead of being referred on to specialist centres. We’ve been doing Echo for 3 years, now going into our 4th year. And originally it started off as what we thought was an educational, teaching exercise, to increase awareness about persistent pain in young people. But it’s really evolved a lot more over the last few years into a great network of clinicians from around the state and an opportunity for us to be facilitators and enablers of improving care for children and young people.

I think Echo empowers all health professionals that participate, it really brings out their skills in their own environment, for really complex cases that they might not otherwise even attempt to treat. Echo is what you make it, so it has great potential for bringing clinicians together that might not have the opportunity to work together. And most of us are really committed to collaboration and breaking down silos. So if people want that, Echo is definitely one way they can make that happen. Thanks everyone for dialling in, we'll see you next week. Bye. See you later.

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Last updated: November 2021