Vietnam National Children’s Hospital learnt about the ECHO model for the first time in June of 2018, when the hospital took part in the Orientation Training course organized by the ECHO Institute in Hanoi. Understanding the purpose and origin of the ECHO model shared by the founder of the Project ECHO, Professor Sanjeev Arora, which was to spread medical expertise to the remotest community, and to reach by 2025, 1 billion people in medically underserved condition via ECHO Tele-education, the VNCH decided to become the first pediatric ECHO hub in Vietnam.
In 2020, Prof. Arora and ECHO Institute were one of six members shortlisted for the MacArthur Foundation 100&Change Challenge, a 100 million dollar grant awarding creativity and invention for humanity. In 2021, Professor Sanjeev Arora and the ECHO Institute won the Brock prize for Education Innovative by replicating the ECHO model to 179 countries and six continents and training 1.3 million healthcare providers worldwide within 17 years since 2003.
Sharing the same purpose, Vietnam National Children’s Hospital, from 2019 till now, has conducted a large number of teleECHO sessions for the national pediatric healthcare system such as Neonatology, Cardiology, Respiratory, Allergy Immunology, Intensive Care, Nephrology, Oncology, among others. In 2020, with the onset of COVID-19 epidemic in Vietnam and ever stringent social distancing measures from the government, the ECHO model has become a critical model that leverages knowledge to learners from Vietnam National Children’s Hospital (hub) to the provincial hospitals (spokes). As a result of this process, VNCH helped to promote the knowledge as well as competency of expertise in the continuous medical education for the pediatric healthcare system, with more than 650 participants who are provincial healthcare providers following the Satellite hospital program in 2020 and more than 1000 participants of 374 hospitals following the Telehealth program in 2021.
In his citation in Forbes magazine, Professor Sanjeev Arora mentioned Vietnam National Children’s Hospital as a reliable and helpful partnership of ECHO in the urgent response to COVID 19 pandemic in the world: “It is the first academic hub in the world that share the experienced knowledge of COVID-19 prevention and control to 60 provinces and cities with more than 12,000 participants nationwide”.
With the responsibility and mission of a leading pediatric hospital in the northern region of Vietnam, VNCH has become a role model for its capacity of telemedicine that supports medically underserved communities through ECHO. Since then, VNCH has inspired many hospitals and universities worldwide to follow the ECHO model to undertake its responsibilities and missions for the medically and economically underserved communities.
In April 2022, the Vietnam National Children’s Hospital was a candidate as an academic superhub in Southeast Asia. After three days of active Immersion training regarded as superhub training, VNCH becomes the 24th superhub of more than 600 hubs and superhubs and 172 countries throughout the world implementing the ECHO model, obtaining the same position with other superhubs such as American Academy of Pediatrics (USA), Children’s Health Queensland Hospital and Health Service (Australia), ECHO India, ECHO Ontario (Canada), etc … With this new role, VNCH, on behalf of ECHO Institute, is capable to train and provide free telehealth platform for domestic and foreign health institutes that aspire to become ECHO hubs to further support the underserved medically communities via the workforce education.
Written by: Hong Van – Hong Nhung