Stanford Medicine Gets $2.5M Grant to Research Digital Tech for Heart Health

May 1, 2020

The American Heart Association has awarded $2.5 million to Stanford Medicine’s Center for Digital Health to explore how digital technology can improve cardiovascular health.

According to Stanford Medicine officials, the grant will fund the creation of a research program to develop and promote digital tools that address unmet needs for cardiovascular care. What’s more, the grant will support a clinical trial to determine whether high blood pressure can be managed effectively with the help of digital technology, as well as fund a fellowship program.

The clinical trial will test a semi-automated system of managing  blood pressure in Hispanic and black participants, as well as in participants who work for ride-hailing companies. A physician will guide each person's care, beginning with an in-person visit. Then, care will be continued virtually using wearables and sensors, such as smartphone-connected blood pressure cuffs, officials explained.

“This grant will help promote our research into expanding the use of digital healthcare to help make medical decisions remotely,” said Mintu Turakhia, M.D., executive director of the center and associate professor of medicine.

“Hypertension affects 115 million Americans,” he added. “For many, getting treatment — going to the doctor, getting medicine, getting exercise and going back to the doctor — is not feasible.”

The award is part of a $14 million grant to several institutions for work on reducing healthcare disparities with the help of technology. The institutions — the Stanford School of Medicine, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, Johns Hopkins University and the University of Michigan — will share another $4 million to work together on at least one project and form a national health technology research collaborative.

“We are excited to be a part of this new network,” said Paul Wang, M.D., professor of cardiovascular medicine at Stanford. “We hope that this leads to important reductions in cardiovascular disease and stroke.”

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