Stanford Medicine awarded $2.5 million grant to investigate digital tools for heart health

The award will fund a research program for heart-health technology and a clinical trial for treating hypertension in black and Hispanic participants and in drivers for ride-hailing companies.

Mintu Turakhia is executive director of Stanford Medicine's Center for Digital Health, which was awarded $2.5 million from the American Heart Association.
Darius Riley

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

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

The grant will fund the creation of a research program to develop and promote digital tools that address unmet needs for cardiovascular care. In addition, the grant will support a clinical trial to determine whether high blood pressure can be managed effectively with the help of digital technology, and it will 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.

“Hypertension affects 115 million Americans,” Turakhia said. “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 health care disparities with the help of technology. The institutions — the Stanford School of MedicineCincinnati 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, MD, professor of cardiovascular medicine at Stanford. “We hope that this leads to important reductions in cardiovascular disease and stroke.”

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