American College of Rheumatology joins NEWDIGS LEAPS Project

Eric NormanLEAPS, News

Initiative to design a systemwide “learning engine” for rheumatoid arthritis in Massachusetts

The American College of Rheumatology (ACR), an international medical association that serves more than 8,500 members of the rheumatology care community, has joined the NEWDIGS initiative at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Center for Biomedical Innovationand will participate in the Learning Ecosystems Accelerator for Patient-Centered, Sustainable Innovation(LEAPS) Project.

NEWDIGS provides its multi-stakeholder community of members and collaborators with a safe haven, pre-competitive environment, programs, and tools to design and pilot system-level initiatives that advance sustainable, patient-centered innovation.

LEAPS focuses on enhancing the value of biopharmaceutical innovation for all stakeholders through novel approaches to the planning, generation, and use of evidence across research and development (R&D) and care delivery for a target disease. The first LEAPS pilot will demonstrate such a connected learning system for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and will use Massachusetts as a statewide testbed.

“Getting a diagnosis is only half the battle for many patients with rheumatic diseases such as RA,” said Dr. Paula Marchetta, President of the American College of Rheumatology. “While current literature has provided valuable insights into the safety and efficacy of available therapeutics, we have yet to discover the key to predicting which will provide the desired response for an individual patient. The LEAPS project provides us with an exciting opportunity to develop a model for leveraging real-world data to gain insights that could transform how we approach patient care system-wide.”

ACR joins a consortium of diverse stakeholders in the project who will collaborate to design a “learning engine” that ensures we are able to routinely get the right treatment to the right patient at the right time.

“The American College of Rheumatology is a welcome addition to the LEAPS project and the NEWDIGS community” said Gigi Hirsch, M.D., Executive Director of the initiative. “The breadth of their vision and reach will be critical to the design and implementation of a successful, high impact pilot, and to scaling this model across the national RA community.”

About the American College of Rheumatology
The American College of Rheumatology is an international medical society representing over 8,500 rheumatologists and rheumatology health professionals with a mission to empower rheumatology professionals to excel in their specialty. In doing so, the ACR offers education, research, advocacy and practice management support to help its members continue their innovative work and provide quality patient care. Rheumatologists are experts in the diagnosis, management and treatment of more than 100 different types of arthritis and rheumatic diseases.

The NEWDIGS Initiative, led by the MIT Center for Biomedical Innovation, is an international “think and do tank” dedicated to delivering more value faster to patients, in ways that work for all stakeholders. NEWDIGS designs, evaluates, and initiates advancements that are too complex and cross-cutting to be addressed by a single organization or market sector. Its members include global leaders from patient advocacy, payer organizations, biopharmaceutical companies, regulatory agencies, clinical care, academic research, and investment firms. For more information, visit