Stanford launches digital health center to connect faculty with tech companies – Stanford Medical Center Report

Doing research quickly, inexpensively

“There are hundreds upon hundreds of digital health startups now, and it is very difficult for patients, doctors, hospitals, insurers, regulators and investors to know which solutions will work and which will stick,” said Mintu Turakhia, MD, assistant professor of cardiovascular medicine and senior director of research and innovation at the center. “High-quality evidence is needed to make informed decisions. We generate this evidence quickly and cheaply, targeting the real-world outcomes that matter for all of these stakeholders.”

Turakhia leads efforts to advance research in digital health at Stanford that ranges from technology assessments and implementation studies to multicenter trials. He is the principal investigator for five digital health trials. The largest of these is a 25-site, 400-patient randomized trial to test digital interventions combined with health coaches to determine whether they improve medication adherence for people with atrial fibrillation, which affects 4 million U.S. adults.

“Even after generating rigorous evidence, there can be a long, complicated path to implementation with many unanswered questions,” Turakhia said. Such questions include: What is the best way to incorporate new digital tools into the practice of health care? Will new advances actually improve patient care? Are they are worth the costs?

“Currently there is very little evidence to support how best to incorporate digital tools into practice,” Cheung said. “Stanford faculty have the expertise to help with the design and implementation of new digital health tools.”

Training and education

The center will provide training to physicians in digital health medicine at Stanford through fellowships, internship opportunities, conferences and traditional classroom material, Desai said. In addition, the center will offer educational programs to industry members.

The center is also accepting proposals for health care research projects focused on innovative uses for Apple Watches. In addition to providing up to 1,000 of the watches, the center will award $10,000 to the winning project for one year, starting in April.


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