Mayo Clinic part of new nationwide health innovation network

The Mayo Clinic's Gonda Building
Pedestrians cross the street as they leave Mayo Clinic's Gonda Building in Rochester, Friday, Jan. 22, 2016. Mayo Clinic is one of the initial participants in a new nationwide health innovation network.
Alex Kolyer for MPR News

Mayo Clinic is part of a new national network that aims to use innovation to solve health problems faster. The Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) will use the new network, called APRANET-H, to find new ways to prevent, detect and treat cancer, diabetes and other diseases.

The network will be anchored by three regional hubs: a customer experience hub in Dallas, Texas, focusing on accessible health solutions; an investor catalyst hub in Cambridge, Mass.; and a stakeholder and operations hub in the National Capital Region at a site to be announced later this year.

“ARPA-H has an enormous opportunity and responsibility to improve the well-being of all Americans,” said ARPA-H Director Renee Wegrzyn in a statement. “Through this nationwide hub-and-spoke network, ARPANET-H will enable ARPA-H to create breakthrough capabilities and achieve health outcomes for everyone that are accessible, tangible, and measurably better. Regardless of location, ARPA-H funding will support the best and brightest ideas across the country, with opportunities for universities, companies, and non-traditional performers.”

The Mayo Clinic Platform is one of more than a dozen initial spokes of that network. Dr. John Halamka, president of the Mayo Clinic Platform, said it was chosen for its work using data and augmented intelligence to help find cures for patients.

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"Shouldn't every clinician globally have the advantage of the very best patient experience and the very best literature?” he asked. “And ARPA-H working with Mayo Clinic Platform will ensure there are those kinds of innovations, democratizing access to knowledge globally."

He said Mayo Clinic Platform’s work already has many practical applications.

"What if an artificial intelligence reads every radiology study for every one of my patients and says ‘oh John, you know, there's a very small fracture, very hard to see,’ or, ‘oh, there's a little air where there shouldn't be or bleeding where they shouldn't,’” said Halamka. “That kind of solution we're just starting to deploy in our community sites now."

Halamka said protecting patients will be key even as innovation continues.

"We need to be very careful, however, that we don't create bias,” he said. “We don't create a digital divide, we don't use a model or a new discovery in a way that's going to cause harm."

Some of the other initial ARPANET-H spokes include:

  • Southern Research, Birmingham, Ala.

  • Mountain Pacific, Anchorage, Alaska

  • National Resilience, Inc., San Diego, Calif.

  • UCHealth CARE Innovation Center, Aurora, Colo.

  • Orlando Health, Orlando, Fla.

  • Cherokee Nation Health Service, Tahlequah, Okla.

  • University City Science Center, Philadelphia, Pa.

  • Access to Advanced Health Institute, Seattle, Wash.

  • University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, Milwaukee, Wis.