ECHO India and Societal Thinking: Joining hands to strengthen India’s healthcare system

Table of Contents

Humanity is producing knowledge at an unprecedented speed and scale, but its dispersion is still extremely slow.  In healthcare, knowledge doubles in less than three months, whereas it takes 17 years for that knowledge to reach clinical practice. At ECHO India, we are focused on the diffusion and effective implementation of knowledge in healthcare and education through capacity building.

We have established over 245 telementoring hubs and rolled out 800+ capacity-building programmes, covering more than 30 disease areas. ECHO’s programmes have witnessed over a million attendances from healthcare workers across the country. We have an ambitious goal of touching the lives of 400 million Indians by the end of 2025.

The efficacy of the ‘Hub and Spoke’ ECHO model has been validated by over 500 peer-reviewed articles. The ECHO Model of learning has received a boost with the collaborative development of iECHO with Societal Thinking, a cutting-edge digital infrastructure enabling capacity building with speed, better quality, low cost, at scale.

Together, we have found great synergy in the values, goals and problem-solving approach we believe in. We share a common belief that social challenges are large, complex and dynamic, but traditional ways of solving are not able to keep up with the pace at which they grow and mutate. 

By combining the power of the trusted human networks of the ECHO Model with the exponential change approach of Societal Thinking, there is a potential to make a significant impact in improving healthcare outcomes and realising the latent capacity of the system in other underserved areas. 

As part of Societal Thinking’s Scalers, we aim to sharpen our focus on healthcare, and expand our efforts to other social determinants of health and intersectional SDGs.

From solvers to orchestrators:

As a scaler, this collaboration with Societal Thinking will also enable us to reimagine the core problem of decentralised capacity building in our work. We see our role in the ecosystem as an orchestrator to continue to strengthen our partners and partnerships and be the catalyst to enable partners to do more at speed, scale and lower cost. Our role would be to ensure the availability, access and evolution of the right infrastructure, standards and governance to support all the solvers in the ecosystem.

While our focus is currently on healthcare and education, the ECHO model can be deployed in many other sectors, such as education, sustainable livelihoods, and even the judiciary. Also, within healthcare, the disease-agnostic ECHO model can be leveraged in any domain. We envisage that the innovative and continuously improving iECHO platform will drive the expansion of the ECHO movement in future and will help to evolve vibrant Communities of Practices which will work independently to solve different social problems at scale.

About the Author

Dr. Sunil Anand

Executive Director of ECHO in India. (Ujjwal)

Ujjwal Pratap

Project ECHO