Dialogue Volume 15 Issue 1 2019 - Page 31

PRACTICE PARTNER Peers Helping Peers Opportunities for guidance in pain management The Ontario Partnered Support Table is a group of health system agencies intent on ensuring physicians have the support they need to feel more confident caring for patients with pain. In this issue, we examine the services offered by Project ECHO, the Centre for Effective Practice, and the Ontario College of Family Physicians’ Medical Mentoring for Addiction and Pain Network. C aring for patients with opioid addiction and chronic pain can be challenging in the context of a family practice. A physician with limited experience could understandably feel overwhelmed and discouraged when trying to provide the best care for patients with these issues. There is reason to feel heartened, however. The fol- lowing organizations have developed opportunities to connect family physicians to other health-care profes- sionals who can offer the guidance they need. Project ECHO Since its inception in 2014, nearly 400 health-care professionals across the province have taken advantage of the “think tank” known as Project ECHO. The heart of the ECHO model is its hub-and-spoke knowledge-sharing networks, led by expert teams who use multi-point videoconferencing to conduct virtual clinics with community providers. In this way, primary care doctors, nurses, and other clinicians learn to provide excellent specialty care to patients in their own communities. Here’s how it works. A team of experts in chronic pain (the hub) conduct weekly two-hour videoconfer- ences for primary care professionals (the spokes) using the Ontario Telemedicine Network. The two academic hubs involved are Queen’s University and the University Health Network. Along with MDs, the experts include allied health professionals like a pain psychologist, phys- iotherapist, social worker, occupational therapist, phar- macist and nurse. The spokes present de-identified cases and get treatment suggestions. In any given session, as many as 25 partner health-care sites attend. Spokes can ISSUE 1, 2019 DIALOGUE 31