ARPA-H launches mobile health program aimed at rural communities

The new Platform Accelerating Rural Access to Distributed & InteGrated Medical care, or PARADIGM, sets out to develop a “rugged electric vehicle platform” to access rural communities.
(Getty Images)

A new program launched Tuesday by the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health aims to build an advanced mobile health option that can close the care gap for rural communities.

The ARPA-H program, called the Platform Accelerating Rural Access to Distributed & InteGrated Medical care, or PARADIGM, is intended to be “a multi-functional, rugged electric vehicle platform” that will employ medical devices capable of conducting screenings and testing for people in rural areas, the agency said in a release. 

That may include things like a mini CT scanner and digital training tools for health care workers, which the program is exploring. According to the release, the program will also seek to build software to connect devices both on the vehicles and remotely with electronic health records systems.

“What we aim to do is to develop a mobile health vehicle unit platform that essentially acts as a unit of a hospital,” Bon Ku, PARADIGM’s program manager, said during a call with reporters Tuesday. “This platform will allow patients not only to have virtual visits, but also to obtain imaging tests, advanced imaging tests, like CT scans, MRIs, ultrasounds, lab testing, and also interventions ranging from maternal health appointments to sophisticated appointments like obtaining dialysis.”


The program will use a program solicitation in five areas, including for a ruggedized CT scanner, a medical Internet of Things platform, and intelligent task guidance, according to the release. The program expects multiple awards and said resources “will depend on the quality of the proposals received and the availability of funds.”

Madison Alder

Written by Madison Alder

Madison Alder is a reporter for FedScoop in Washington, D.C., covering government technology. Her reporting has included tracking government uses of artificial intelligence and monitoring changes in federal contracting. She’s broadly interested in issues involving health, law, and data. Before joining FedScoop, Madison was a reporter at Bloomberg Law where she covered several beats, including the federal judiciary, health policy, and employee benefits. A west-coaster at heart, Madison is originally from Seattle and is a graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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