ARPA-H program aims to improve rural health care access


Biden-Harris Administration’s ARPA-H launches PARADIGM program to improve rural health outcomes 

ARPA-H program aims to provide effective hospital-level care to more Americans in communities across the United States 

The Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) launched the Platform Accelerating Rural Access to Distributed & InteGrated Medical care (PARADIGM) program today. To tackle President Biden’s Unity Agenda priorities by driving breakthroughs to improve health outcomes for all Americans, including for diseases like cancer, PARADIGM will enhance early detection and management in rural communities across the nation. 

“Americans in rural areas deserve access to the highest quality health care.  ARPA-H is finding innovative ways to meet that challenge,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “The Biden-Harris Administration has lowered health care costs for Americans by negotiating prescription drug prices, capping the price of insulin, and bringing insurance premiums down by more than $800. We’ll continue to lower costs for all Americans at every opportunity." 

Rural America grapples with a stark reality: higher mortality rates from leading causes of death than their urban counterparts. Yet, over the past decade, more than 100 rural hospitals shuttered, and 600 more teeter on the brink, deepening the chasm of healthcare access. PARADIGM will create a new platform that delivers hospital-quality clinical, diagnostic and essential medical services to rural America, bringing care directly to people across zip codes.   

PARADIGM is designed to combat the dire health disparities prevalent in rural regions. The grim statistics—twice the incidence of lung cancer, higher mortality rates from heart disease, respiratory disease, cancer, and stroke, and higher infant and maternal mortality, to name a few —underscore the urgent need for such interventions. By enhancing early detection and management, key priorities for the Biden Cancer Moonshot’s mission to end cancer as we know it, PARADIGM aims to stem the tide of morbidity and mortality in these underserved populations. 

“Telehealth revolutionized access to primary care and mental health services.​ PARADIGM will do the same for advanced hospital-level care,” said ARPA-H PARADIGM Program Manager Bon Ku, M.D., MPP. “We need to fundamentally shift how care is provided to rural Americans, and PARADIGM intends to do this by creating a scalable health delivery system outside the walls of a hospital.” 

PARADIGM aims to create a multi-functional, rugged electric vehicle platform that integrates many different medical devices to treat a large variety of health conditions. The program will do this by building software that will connect on-board and remote medical devices with any electronic health record (EHR) system. The program also is exploring the creation of mini CT-scanners and digitally-enhanced real-time training tools to upskill healthcare workers to perform tasks beyond their usual training. By using multiple parallel innovations, an integrated platform that can be tested throughout rural areas in the country, working in partnership with local communities to ensure that their problems are being solved, should increase likelihood of adoption. 

“Imagine being able to offer advanced imaging tests, multi-cancer screenings, perinatal care, and essential medical services in a mobile medical platform that meets patients where they are at. This would allow so many Americans who can’t get to a hospital to be treated for many different illnesses and conditions. The program’s impact has the potential to resonate far beyond the boundaries of a map, reaching into the lives and well-being of countless individuals across the nation,” said ARPA-H Director Renee Wegrzyn, Ph.D. 

PARADIGM will be using a Program Solicitation focused on five technical areas: Decentralized Approach to Hospital-Level Care, Care Delivery Platform Integration, Medical IoT Platform, Ruggedized CT Scanner, and Intelligent Task Guidance. 

Multiple awards, in the form of Other Transactions, are anticipated as a result of the Program Solicitation. Resources available will depend on the quality of the proposals received and the availability of funds. Learn more about PARADIGM on its program page, including information about the Special Notice, Proposers’ Day registration, and how to state interest to form an applicant team.