Health care delivery innovation grants support early-stage work to close gaps in obstetrics, palliative care, surgical care, and more.
BOSTON, MA — February 4, 2022 – Ariadne Labs today announced nine recipients of the Ariadne Labs Spark Grant innovation awards. The Spark Grant program provides support for new and early-stage ideas focused on addressing gaps in health care and improving delivery of care. Now in its ninth year, the program has funded more than 21 projects.
The 2021-2022 grantees are working to close gaps in health care across a variety of clinical areas. Projects include optimizing transitions from obstetric to primary care, improving care for stroke patients, applying mobile health technology to surgical care, and supporting clinicians in medication management in hospice settings. Grantees were chosen following a competitive selection process from a diverse pool of candidates.
This year’s recipients additionally include five projects funded by Harvard Medical School (HMS) Dean’s Innovation Grants in Health Care Delivery. HMS Dean’s Innovation Grants are supporting innovations in home-based palliative care, postpartum care for patients who deliver via cesarean section in rural Africa, equity in oncology, and monitoring for complications following recovery from tuberculosis.
“At Ariadne Labs, innovation is core to everything we do. We are committed to investing and supporting early-stage ideas that can bring health systems innovation to other areas of health care delivery,” said Asaf Bitton, MD, MPH, Executive Director of Ariadne Labs. “These grantees play a critical role in identifying the gaps where the health care system is not working, and developing scalable, systems-level solutions to deliver high quality care to every patient everywhere.”
“Innovative approaches that reshape health care delivery, patient outcomes, and human lives needn’t always come from cutting-edge technologies or the latest breakthrough in science. Indeed, some of the most transformative solutions can often arise from creative, yet simple, new ways of tackling long-standing challenges,” said Harvard Medical School Dean George Q. Daley, MD, PhD. “This is precisely the type of innovation that these catalytic grants promise to enable.”
The 2021-2022 recipients of the Ariadne Labs Spark Grant innovation awards are:
Beyond Birth: Optimizing the Transition from Obstetric to Primary Care
Chloe Zera MD, MPH, Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Beth Israel Lahey Health, Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School
Ann Celi MD, MPH, Division of General Medicine and Primary Care, Division of Women’s Health, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School
The transition from obstetric to ongoing primary care represents a key opportunity to reduce short- and long-term adverse outcomes following birth and delivery. This project aims to design and test a solution to close integration gaps during this period between obstetric and primary care providers. In year one of the project, the team designed a prototype of a workbook to guide the birthing person and their provider through the postpartum care plan over time and began a qualitative study of patients’ perceptions of their health care needs after delivery. In year two, the team will refine the tool further, test the feasibility, acceptability, and perceived utility of the tool, and complete collection and analysis of qualitative patient input. The team will also develop a provider implementation guide and patient education resources.
Checklist for Improving Endovascular Thrombectomy for Stroke
Sandeep Kumar MD, Associate Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School
Ajith Thomas MD, Chairman and Professor of Neurosurgery at Cooper University Hospital
Magdy H. Selim MD, PhD, Physician, Neurology, BIDMC Department of Neurology
Stroke is a leading cause of long-term disability and death worldwide; recent advances in stroke management, such as endovascular thrombectomy (EVT) for acute ischemic strokes, has been shown to be very effective when used appropriately. EVT, however, remains underutilized, and gaps in current stroke care practices decrease its effectiveness in real-world settings. This project aims to adapt and test feasibility, acceptance, and utility of a prototype checklist to streamline workflows for rapid assessment and triaging of potential EVT candidates at community hospitals.
Improving Surgical Recovery through High Quality Integration of mHealth Technology in Perioperative Care
Christy Cauley MD, MPH, Faculty, Safe Surgery, Ariadne Labs; Staff Surgeon, Massachusetts General Hospital
Trey Sinyard MD, MBA, General Surgery Resident, Massachusetts General Hospital, Safe Surgery Fellow, Ariadne Labs
In surgical care, gaps in communication and coordination can lead to poor patient outcomes and decreased system performance. Mobile health (mHealth) offers an opportunity to improve quality of care through timely, individualized assessments, improved patient education, and more effective care coordination. The project aims to conduct necessary background research and develop a toolkit for high quality integration of mHealth into perioperative care.
Making Goal-Concordant Prescribing Training Scalable
Susan DeSanto-Madeya PhD, APRN-CNS, FAAN, Ariadne Labs Associate Faculty; Nurse Scientist, Beth Israel Lahey Health
Erik Fromme MD, MCR, Ariadne Labs Core Faculty, Serious Illness Care Program; Dana Farber Cancer Institute; Harvard Medical School
Patients in hospice care are often prescribed numerous daily medications, putting them at increased risk for drug-related harm and creating stress and confusion for family caregivers. To support a person-centered approach to medication management, this project will adapt Ariadne Labs’ Serious Illness Conversation Guide to create and test a Goal Concordant Prescribing Serious Illness Conversation Guide. The guide will help clinicians regularly review and simplify treatment regimens in alignment with patients’ goals of care. The team will also develop a package of educational materials for scalable clinician training.
Recipients of the Harvard Medical School Dean’s Innovation Grants in Health Care Delivery are:
Developing a Model for a Joint Provider-Payer Strategy to Increase Use of Home-Based Palliative Care
Anita Wagner PharmD, MPH, DrPH, Associate Professor, Department of Population Medicine, a joint Department of Harvard Medical School and the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute; Director, Point32Health Ethics Program.
Research suggests that home-based palliative care offers numerous benefits, but most patients who could benefit do not receive it, as it is difficult to identify eligible patients at a population level. This project aims to develop a scalable provider-payer collaboration to support rapid identification of patients for whom home-based palliative care would be appropriate and address the barriers to adoption among payers and providers. Having completed extensive background research in year one of funding, the team will use year two to develop and test a payer-provider engagement model.
Protocols for Safe Postpartum Care at Home for Women Delivering by Cesarean Section in Rural Africa
Bethany Hedt-Gauthier PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Global Health and Social Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Associate Professor, Department of Biostatistics, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Global protocols for cesarean sections detail standards of care for the procedure and hospitalization, but do not provide guidelines for after discharge. This gap is particularly harmful for women as many complications, such as surgical site infections which are common in sub-Saharan Africa, occur after discharge. This project will build a foundation for developing postpartum care protocols to improve consistency in discharge messages and quality of care. In year one of this work, the team completed a scoping review and began developing post-discharge instructions. In the second year the team will test the acceptability and feasibility of the instructions with mothers, community health workers, and providers and will develop strategies to effectively communicate the instructions.
Improving Equity in the Quality of Oncology Care with Practice Feedback
Nancy Keating MD, MPH, Professor of Health Care Policy, Department of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School; Professor of Medicine and Practicing General Internist, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Mary Beth Landrum PhD, Professor of Health Care Policy, Department of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School
While research shows persistent racial inequities in cancer treatments, quality assessments have rarely incorporated measures of racial inequities, and few metrics are available for practices to know if they are providing similar care to all patients. This project aims to develop an audit-and-feedback intervention to provide oncology practices with actionable, race-specific data about their performance in delivering equitable and high-quality care to both Black and White oncology patients relative to other oncology practices.
Optimizing Supervision of Community Health Workers in Remote Settings
Matthew Bonds PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Global Health and Social Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Community health that expands beyond the formal health care system is key to achieving universal health coverage, particularly in low-income, rural locations such as Madagascar. Since 2014, PIVOT, a nongovernmental health care organization, has partnered with the Madagascar government to strengthen the health system of one district. Community health workers are an integral component of this effort, but global evidence to guide community health worker supervision is lacking. This project aims to develop a new protocol and tools for data-informed supervision of community health workers and to study the impact of this supervision on quality of care and health worker motivation.
LIBRE Post-TB: Protocol for Care for Post-Tuberculosis Pulmonary Sequelae in High-Burden TB Settings
Carole Mitnick ScD, Professor of Global Health and Social Medicine, Harvard Medical School
While tens of millions of people have been successfully treated for tuberculosis (TB), many are left with an increased risk for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or recurrent TB, and guidance on routine screening for these conditions is lacking. This project will develop a package of tools to reach vulnerable individuals when they complete TB treatment. Using the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease guidelines as a guide, the package will characterize lung function and quality of life following TB treatment, determine need for follow-up, and monitor for and treat post-TB lung disease. Together, these approaches could decrease morbidity due to recurrent TB and COPD and improve quality of life for millions after TB recovery.
About the Spark Grant Program:
Founded in 2012, the Spark Grant program provides eligible Ariadne Labs and Harvard Medical School faculty with a year of funding to support research and refine promising new ideas to address gaps in health care and create a pipeline of innovative, scalable systems-level solutions to continue to improve delivery of care for every patient, everywhere. To learn more about the Spark Grant program, visit: https://www.ariadnelabs.org/spark-grants/.
About Ariadne Labs
Ariadne Labs is a joint center for health systems innovation at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. With a mission to save lives and reduce suffering, our vision is that health systems equitably deliver the best possible care for every patient, everywhere, every time. We use human centered design, health systems implementation science, public health expertise, and frontline clinical care experience to design, test and spread scalable systems-level solutions to some of health care’s biggest problems. From developing checklists and conversation guides to fostering international collaborations and establishing global standards of measurement, our work has been accessed in more than 165 countries, touching hundreds of millions of lives. Visit ariadnelabs.org to learn more.