CAMBRIDGE, MA – CIC Health and the non-profit Ariadne Labs today announce the formation of the Assurance Testing Alliance (ATA), a coalition that aims to dramatically expand U.S. coronavirus testing access to allow a safer reopening of the economy and our communities.
ATA has created an infrastructure to streamline and connect the entire process of procuring and delivering COVID-19 testing.
“The ATA will improve access to regular assurance testing by making it simpler and cheaper for individuals and organizations, and linking that demand to the untapped capacity of labs,” said Tim Rowe, CEO of CIC Health, the central logistics and contracting entity of the ATA.
ATA handles the logistics and operations required to connect laboratories with schools, elder care settings, employers, and other communities that need regular testing. Thus far, ATA member organizations have contracted with several laboratories to enable nationwide impact, including the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard in Massachusetts, Guardant Health in California, and University of Minnesota’s Genomics Center in Minnesota. Because of its unique model, testing services through ATA will typically be available for less than half the prevailing costs.
The ATA estimates that, collectively, the labs they are working with can conduct two million more tests per month if they have additional logistical support. Currently the U.S. tests about 24 million per month.
ATA is based on a blueprint for scaling COVID-19 testing in a recent Harvard Business Review article by Dr. Atul Gawande, Chairman of Ariadne Labs, and Nikhil Bhojwani, Managing Partner at Recon Strategy. They define “assurance testing” as frequent and widespread testing of healthy people, to allow employers, schools, and others to resume operations as safely as possible. Gawande and Bhojwani are co-founders of the ATA along with Rowe and Bill Paquin, Chief Commercial Officer of PWNHealth.
“Ariadne Labs specializes in rapidly developing simple, scalable solutions that dramatically improve the delivery of healthcare for everyone,” said Gawande. “A key priority for Ariadne Labs during COVID-19 has been addressing the inequities across the health care system, which requires collaboration across sectors. The ATA is seeking to help organizations with the most difficulty accessing affordable testing such as non-profits, small employers, nursing homes, municipalities, public educational institutions, and others.”
CIC Health operates and integrates all the components of assurance testing into a single solution delivered at low-cost and at scale. Other leading organizations that are partnering in the ATA include nationwide physician network PWNHealth, and laboratory and testing software provider ixLayer.
“A coordinated testing strategy is our path out of this pandemic. It’s a privilege to collaborate with the alliance on a scalable national solution to testing. We will continue to do what we can to make the testing process simple and scalable while ensuring individuals have appropriate support from clinicians.” said Bill Paquin, Chief Commercial Officer of PWNHealth.
Working together, these provide pre- and post-lab services including physician prescriptive authority and follow up for positive tests, logistics and customer service, required government reporting results nationwide, and billing. It also provides an easy to use technology platform for organizations that wish to offer testing to their employees, clinical staff, and the individuals getting tested.
“We currently process approximately 70,000 COVID-19 tests a day for people in hospitals, nursing homes, homeless shelters, and at more than 100 colleges and universities, and have reserved additional capacity to reach even more communities,” said Stacey Gabriel, Senior Director of the Genomics Platform at the Broad Institute. “What’s needed are partners who can build the logistical connections between our processing center and the communities seeking access to rapid testing — such as site setup, staff training, couriers and daily support. By filling that gap, groups like the ATA help bridge the gaps between labs that have capacity and the people who are seeking regular access to tests.”
“Guardant Health is pleased to work with the Assurance Testing Alliance to help address the need for COVID-19 testing nationwide with our Guardant-19 test,” said Helmy Eltoukhy, Guardant Health CEO. “While we remain focused on serving cancer patients, we are also committed to leveraging our expertise in liquid biopsy to help battle COVID-19. The ATA coalition has the potential to improve COVID-19 testing in this country and we are fortunate to contribute to this important public health effort.”
Additional labs with significant new capacity and diverse technologies are in the process of being brought on board.
“As a platform, the ATA is not limited by types of tests or suppliers, and we are in the process of adding several other labs and test manufacturers to make a significant impact on the total testing capacity nationwide,” said Bhojwani.
CIC Health provides a comprehensive solution for COVID-19 testing. Today, CIC Health supports over 100 schools, universities, elderly care facilities and municipalities with their COVID testing needs. CIC Health is a subsidiary of CIC – Cambridge Innovation Center, a global leader in operating innovation communities founded in 1999. CIC supports over 2,500 small business clients in 5 U.S. states and has operations in Europe and Asia.
Ariadne Labs is a non-profit joint center for health systems innovation at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. It develops simple, scalable solutions that dramatically improve the delivery of health care at critical moments to save lives and reduce suffering. Its vision is for health systems to deliver the best possible care for every patient, everywhere, every time. Visit ariadnelabs.org to learn more and covid19.ariadnelabs.org to learn about Ariadne Labs’ response to COVID-19.
PWNHealth is a national clinician network that provides safe and easy access to diagnostic testing.
Recon Strategy is a consulting firm that works with leaders at health systems, payers, life science and digital health firms to anticipate and shape the future of healthcare.