On Tuesday, November 29th, the Senate voted 97-0 to pass the HIMSS supported “Enhancing Capacity for Health Outcomes (ECHO) Act.” The bill requires the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to study the use of technology-enabled collaborative learning and capacity building models to improve healthcare delivery. The ECHO Act takes a critical step toward expanding access to high-quality healthcare for patients, especially those living in rural and underserved areas.
Following the passage of the bill, Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Brian Schatz (D-HI), who jointly introduced the bill in April, praised the ECHO Act’s passage in a statement. “By using technology to connect patients and providers, this bill will benefit Utah’s families by helping them receive the care they need, when they need it,” stated Sen. Hatch. Sen. Schatz further highlighted that “technology is changing the way medical professionals connect with each other and their patients. Our bill capitalizes on this technology to give health professionals in hard-to-reach areas the specialized training they need and help them reach more patients.”