Access Innovations, Inc., provider of Data Harmony software solutions, is proud to announce the completion of a taxonomy project with Project ECHO, a healthcare telementoring initiative based at the University of New Mexico.

As the ECHO Digital platform grows to serve new geographies and new domains of knowledge, a key challenge they must overcome is how to meaningfully organize the information shared through ECHO such that interested people can find what they are looking for, and so that they can report their activities and impact most meaningfully. ECHO has thus far used an informal home-grown taxonomy to categorize the different programs produced by ECHO partners, but this approach has many weaknesses and results in poor quality data. They engaged the services of Access Innovations, a recognized leader in taxonomy consulting, to help them organize and structure the global ECHO taxonomy such that their software and data systems can use a common structure to describe the ECHO programs. Similarly, the participants in these programs need to be categorized by their occupations.

The aim of this project was to create the skeleton of a medical-focused taxonomy for Project ECHO. The scope included the creation of the skeleton and training for Project ECHO staff to build out and maintain their taxonomy in the future. Access Innovations and Project ECHO agreed on a three-month project to share information, share best practices and standards for taxonomy creation and maintenance, and build out the backbone of a taxonomy.

“We were eager to learn as much as we could about taxonomies,” says Jonathan Wolfe, Ph.D., IT Director, Project ECHO. “Access Innovations was able to provide training and advice on taxonomy governance, and now we can take on the maintenance and direction of our own taxonomy.”

“This was an exciting project to take on,” comments Samantha Lewis, Production Coordinator at Access Innovations. “It’s great to be able to give our customers the power to harness and expand their taxonomy as their organization grows.”

Project ECHO will expand their taxonomy, and create new ones in the future, to cover all their focus areas. Access Innovations stands at the ready to provide further training and assistance in the future.

About Access Innovations, Inc. –,

Founded in 1978, Access Innovations is the pioneer and industry leader in making information assets easily and automatically discoverable.  Our major advantage is our patented, award-winning Data Harmony software, combined with the technical expertise to create information discovery systems that meet unique client needs.

About Project ECHO –

Project ECHO was launched in 2003 as a healthcare initiative before expanding into other domains. It grew out of one doctor’s vision. Sanjeev Arora, M.D., a liver disease specialist at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center in Albuquerque, was frustrated that he could serve only a fraction of the hepatitis C patients in the state. He wanted to serve as many patients with hepatitis C as possible, so he created a free, educational model and mentored community providers across New Mexico in how to treat the condition.

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that hepatitis C care provided by Project ECHO trained community providers was as good as care provided by specialists at a university.

The ECHO model is not traditional “telemedicine” where the specialist assumes care of the patient, but is instead telementoring, a guided practice model where the participating clinician retains responsibility for managing the patient.