Innovation is in our DNA.
Positioned at the intersection of frontline care delivery and public health, we are able to quickly iterate and incubate innovative solutions for not only what’s needed now, but also what’s next in health care. We are actively exploring new technologies, therapeutics, and best practices for care, reflecting the evolution of how people engage with the health care system.
Ariadne Labs was designed to be agile and nimble—able to navigate the complexities of health care systems globally and respond with innovative, necessary, and impactful solutions. Based in Boston, one of the world’s top innovation hubs for health care and technology, Ariadne Labs draws from the ecosystem of health care, technology, start-ups, and academia. Innovation is central to our organization’s DNA—from how our work is designed and implemented to our pipeline of new projects and ideas that are in early stages of development.
From Idea to Implementation
At Ariadne Labs, we define innovation as an idea turned into a solution that adds value. In addition to health systems implementation science, public health expertise, and frontline clinical experience, we use human-centered design to solve some of health care’s biggest problems. Our process leverages insights from design thinking and systems engineering, combined with human factors, to root out the causes of problems and connect deeply with the needs of the people at the center of a health care problem.
Our work begins with identifying “Know-Do Gaps” — gaps between what we know should be done in theory, and what actually takes place in clinical practice.
To ensure that our solutions meet the highest standards of science, we utilize our Ariadne Labs Arc, the three-stage innovation pathway to design, test and spread scalable systems-level solutions. As our solutions pass through the stages of the Arc we collaborate with partners worldwide, iterate as new knowledge is discovered, and refine our approaches.
From coalition building and convening, to prototype development, field experience, iteration and preparing for implementation, our Innovation group works with teams across the lab, using techniques such as empathy interviews, stakeholder mapping, ideation, journey mapping, field tests, and mock exercises to ensure we design solutions that are more likely to be successful and adoptable in a variety of settings.
Test and Spread Scalable Systems-Level Solutions
After the design of a solution, innovation is inherent in the ways we approach testing, implementation, and spreading of systems-level solutions. Harnessing our core value of continuous improvement, all teams are empowered to think creatively to solve challenges that may arise during implementation and testing. This can be in novel study design, creative data collection, leveraging new technologies, and defining new frameworks and dissemination strategies.
Ariadne Labs continuously cultivates new projects that can bring health systems innovation to other areas of health care delivery. The Ariadne Labs Spark Grant Program was launched in 2012 as a way to create a pipeline of innovative ideas to expand our work into new areas and recruit new faculty willing to think outside the box to create solutions to key and emerging problems in health care. It includes a structured process of selecting, mentoring, and tracking the progress of those grants to maximize their impact.
Since 2012, Ariadne Labs has awarded 23 Spark Grants to promising projects. Several Spark Grant recipients, such as Delivery Decisions Initiative, Better Evidence, Rural Home Hospital and Precision Population Health, have expanded their impact and become full programs, testing and implementing their solutions in the real world. In 2020, the Spark Grant Program was expanded through a partnership with Harvard Medical School to award two Dean’s Innovation Grants in Health Care Delivery.
Taking Risks & Big Bets
As with any innovation pipeline, not all ideas will lead to major advances. But our approach to innovation means taking risks and making big bets on innovative ideas as we seek to develop solutions that will further our mission of reducing suffering and saving lives.
Innovation in Practice
New Models of Health Care Delivery at Home
The Rural Home Hospital program is focused on providing rural patients with acute, hospital-level care in their homes. Initially launched as a Spark Grant in 2018, the program is now enrolling patients and health systems in a randomized control trial, is working with the Blackfeet Nation and the Indian Health Service, and was influential in Medicare’s decision to scale acute hospital care at home by allowing eligible hospitals to be reimbursed for these services.
Clinical Digital Tools
Keeping up with the latest science and medical research is a formidable task that requires both time and resources, and is particularly difficult for those in low- and middle-income countries. Initially launched as a Spark Grant in 2018, the Better Evidence program connects clinicians in resource-poor countries with top-notch and up-to-date medical research. It has continued to grow its digital health tool hub in partnership with Wolters Kluwer, Osmosis, and others, and now supports more than 24,000 providers serving vulnerable populations across the globe.
Applying Genomics and Next Wave Technology
Precision medicine and genomic sequencing have revolutionized specialty care, particularly in oncology and rare disease treatment. While many of the predictive, diagnostic, and therapeutic tools developed for specialty care have begun to trickle into primary care settings, the migration is often uncoordinated and fraught with uncertainty. The Precision Population Health initiative, which stemmed from a 2018 Spark Grant, is a collaboration with Genomes2People (G2P) to apply precision medicine to promote population health through primary care.
Responding to Crisis
In early 2020, Ariadne Labs quickly reoriented the organization to address every stage of the COVID-19 pandemic. The organization developed 49 tools for clinicians, the public and public health leaders and became a leading and trusted voice on best practices and guidelines in addressing COVID-19. Our COVID-19 tools and resources have reached more than 7.7 million in more than 170 countries.
Growing an Online Community of Implementers
Aria is the Lab’s virtual implementation support platform and learning community. With more than 2,500 users from more than 30 countries, Aria provides a novel platform for implementers around the world to join a community of like-minded professionals working to improve the quality of health care. Discussion forums and other resources within our Communities of Practice allow members to connect, share, and learn from the community’s collective expertise.
Leveraging Data Analytics
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we developed and launched the public and free COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation Planner, in partnership with Surgo Ventures. The planner provides state and county decision-makers with localized data on available vaccine doses, priority populations, and regional vulnerabilities to plan for equitable vaccine distribution. The tool was endorsed by the National Governors’ Association, accessed in more than 160 countries around the world, and processed more than 50 million transactions.