case study

Creating a New Norm for Medical Care, in the U.S. and Around the World

An animated graphic of a doctor leaving a video conference training to go into a patient's room where a patient sits.

The Challenge

Around the globe, millions of people suffer and die unnecessarily because we can’t get rapidly emerging medical knowledge in the right providers’ hands at the right time. For too many people with complex medical conditions, the specialists with the knowledge to treat them are located very far from where they live. Or perhaps the specialist they need has a long wait list. In order to get treatment, patients must travel very far or wait a long time—or both. Maybe they wind up not getting the care they need at all.

Our Approach

Burness has worked with social innovator Sanjeev Arora, MD, to bring forward a truly “disruptive innovation”—Project ECHO—that spreads new medical knowledge to the frontlines of community care around the globe.

Project ECHO is a model for lifelong medical learning and collaborative practice that links community providers with specialist care teams to manage patients with chronic conditions requiring complex care. It is transforming the way medical knowledge is shared and translated into everyday practice—and, in the process, enabling people in remote and medically underserved communities to get care they need. It’s moving knowledge, not patients.

We have engaged with hundreds of leaders in health care, business, academia, and at all levels of government—educating them on the benefits of Project ECHO and showing them how the model can help them solve some of their most pressing health issues. We have shared ECHO’s learning far and wide: at meetings large and small, through the news media, in video, in special journal articles, and in opinion articles.

Results and Impact

Project ECHO is changing the world, fast. With more than 80 hubs in over 12 countries—from Roswell, New Mexico, to New Delhi, India—Project ECHO brings excellent care to people with serious health problems who might not be able to get treatment otherwise. Successful collaborations include the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Defense (which has hubs in Canada, Germany, India, Ireland, and Uruguay), the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Outside the U.S., ECHO programs have launched in India, Brazil and Uruguay. Programs in other countries are in development.

Today, Project ECHO’s efforts are bringing best-practice care to tens of thousands patients with a range of conditions, from hepatitis C to heart disease to chronic pain to rheumatoid arthritis to mental illness and addiction.

But Dr. Arora wants to do more—much more. He has made a commitment to touch the lives of one billion people by the year 2025. Burness will help Dr. Arora and his team achieve that milestone.


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