ARCHeS Evaluates Different Interventions and Policies

Nov 20, 2012, 10:15 AM, Posted by Pioneer Blog Team

By Patrick van der Valk, member of the Archimedes team

This blog entry was originally posted to on October 29, 2012.

The Archimedes Healthcare Simulator (ARCHeS) is a Software-as-a-Service (SAAS) solution that provides health experts access to the Archimedes Model, via a web portal, to answer complex health care questions. The Archimedes Model is a full-scale computer simulation model of human physiology, diseases, behaviors, interventions and health care systems. Through advanced methods of mathematics, computing, and data systems, the Model enables users to run clinically realistic virtual trials that drive better decisions in health and economic outcomes research, comparative effectiveness research, and program and policy design and utilization.

ARCHeS (video and explanation), which launched in May 2011 under a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, allows users to run their own virtual trial by setting up populations, eligibility criteria, standard or custom interventions, and care processes. Users submit their query to the Archimedes Model through the ARCHeS Setup Tool to be queued for a simulation. The Model performs calculations to simulate each person in the population and delivers a dataset via the Archimedes Outcomes Analyzer (AOA) within 24 hours. The AOA allows users to see health and economic outcomes and explore different combinations of interventions and outcomes.

Archimedes Inc., the developer of the solution, relies on publicly available health data provided by key resources, like the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), to accurately develop equations and algorithms that realistically simulate the health care system, including processes such as tests, treatments, admissions, and physician behaviors. Validation and calibration of the model is accomplished by simulating clinical trials and comparing the results to outcomes seen in clinical trials and cohort studies (full reports).

Currently ARCHeS covers conditions, treatments, and outcomes related to cardio-metabolic risk (e.g. coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, stroke, diabetes and its complications, obesity, hypertension, dyslipidemia, and smoking), and plans are in place to add other diseases.

ARCHeS is being widely adopted across the health care spectrum. Academic groups are using it to answer complex questions, while Archimedes and Quintiles, a fully integrated global biopharmaceutical services company, are co-promoting clinical and commercial solutions for life science companies to help reduce time and expense associated with developing and marketing novel therapies.

In May 2012, HHS issued a contract to Archimedes to provide its agencies with direct access to ARCHeS. Participating agencies within HHS are now able to use the tool to conduct large-scale analyses to evaluate health spending, treatment effectiveness, and program and policy comparison.

State-level policy-makers are beginning to utilize ARCHeS as well. For example, the California Department of Health Care Services, which finances and administers Medi-Cal, purchased a year-long subscription to ARCHeS to compare the economic impact and potential savings of different smoking reduction and obesity prevention programs.

By using the ARCHeS solution to complement their own experiences and insights, health care decision-makers are better equipped to answer important policy questions and inform policy decisions that will help increase quality while controlling costs, ultimately improving health care for all Americans.

This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF Pioneering Ideas blog.