ECHO, responding with treatment of cancer patients

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dr. R. Soeko Werdi Nindito D., MARS
dr. R. Soeko Werdi Nindito D., MARS. (Source: Ministry of Health)

Jakarta, IO – To date, the number of specialists in hematology-medical oncology in Indonesia is only 188, with only 202 surgical oncology physicians. This number is far below the needs of Indonesian citizens for assistance against cancer, which is in fact around 0.07 out of 100 thousand inhabitants. This number is also still very low, compared to that recommended by the UK Royal College of Physicians, which is 1.42 for every 100 thousand inhabitants. In addition, not only is the number of professional medical personnel unequal across Indonesia’s geography, but with the continued development of technology that is not supported by the renewal of facilities and information in small areas, there are further limitations in the treatment of cancer patients. 

ECHO telementoring program employs a knowledge-sharing approach between experts at a patron hospital (hub) and clinicians in a hospital being instructed (spoke), based on previously-managed cancer cases. The learning principles of the ECHO model utilize technology to overcome resource limitations (Amplification), share Best Practices to reduce gaps, study with Case-Based Learning and monitor learning outcomes with a WebBased Database. The goal is for the capacity of medical personnel in all regions to continue to grow, so that patients can receive appropriate and timely cancer treatment wherever they are in Indonesia. “The ECHO telementoring program is an excellent program, and one that we have been anticipating to bring out a healthcare transformation. We encourage active collaboration between the government, the public, and the private sector, to continue to encourage the acceleration of development of early detection and cancer care,” said drg. Arianti Anaya, MKM, Director General of Health Workers, Ministry of Health, at a webinar held on Thursday (30/6/2022). 

Fast Vehicle? 

As a matter of fact, the ECHO telementoring program can be regarded as a “fast vehicle”, one intended to increase the capacity of health workers to treat cancer patients in health facilities. In practice, the expert team will provide virtual clinical assistance, strengthening the capacity of health service providers to be able to provide the best treatment for underserved communities in their area. Thus, cancer patients in areas with limited access can still get first aid or adequate treatment, before or without the need to be referred to a more qualified hospital for further action.