Sharing our expertise with bariatric surgery and living with obesity

News / Patient Care
By Anne Rutherford

Project ECHO lets community health care providers tap into best practices at KHSC

Our bariatric specialists are now sharing their expertise beyond the walls of Kingston Health Sciences Centre courtesy of an education model that links them directly with primary care providers in the community who are managing patients living with obesity or recovering from bariatric surgery.

This fall, the Ontario Bariatric Network (OBN) launched Project ECHO® (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) OBN, a technology-enabled, collaborative learning program that lets family doctors and allied health professionals tap into the clinical expertise of multi-disciplinary teams from provincial Bariatric Centres of Excellence (BCoE), including the team located at our HDH site.

Thanks to videoconferencing technology—users just need to log in on a computer with a microphone and webcam or via a smartphone—participants in the Kingston region now have access to bi-monthly, interdisciplinary discussions about best practices and case presentations in bariatric care, says Kristine Canty, Nurse Practitioner in the BCoE at Kingston Health Sciences Centre.

“It’s a hub-and-spoke model of sharing,” she explains, “with KHSC as the academic hub and primary care providers as the spokes. We conduct virtual clinics with community providers and support them in providing excellent evidence-based care to their patients.”

Since September, the “hub” team at KHSC—which includes Kristine, Dr. Boris Zevin, Bariatric Surgeon; Don Cowell, Social Worker; Melodie Bowes, Dietitian; and Rachel Malcolm, Clerical Support—has facilitated six Project Echo OBN sessions for the region with topics including  the medical management of obesity, post-operative care of bariatric surgical patients, the impact of bariatric surgery on mental health and more.

“Patients are the big winners with this learning model,” says Canty, “because it helps them to receive best-practice care by their primary care providers close to home. That means they can avoid long wait times and the travel time it can take to see a specialist.”

The one-and-a-half hour sessions are free and also allow physician participants to earn Continuing Medical Education credits.

Registration is now open for the January 2020 Project ECHO OBN series. For more information on session dates, curriculum and registration, please visit