Stanford today announced the creation of a Center for Digital Health, which will encourage collaborations between faculty members and tech companies. The center's ultimate goal is to use technological advancements to improve health-care delivery.
"With our biomedical expertise and location in Silicon Valley, Stanford Medicine is uniquely positioned to be a leader in the field of digital health," said Dean Lloyd Minor, MD, in our story.
Stanford researchers were receiving numerous calls from both startups and large tech companies with offers to collaborate and were often unsure how to proceed, according to Sumbal Desai, MD, executive director of the new center. As she told me:
We wanted to leverage that interest and generate more opportunities for the faculty by providing the infrastructure and resources needed to encourage these relationships. We can help connect interested faculty with industry — or vice versa. Say, for example, there’s a faculty member interested in pulmonary digital health research. We may know a company with the same interest. We can help connect them.
Mintu Turakhia, MD, assistant professor of medicine and now senior director of research and innovation for the center, is currently the principal investigator of five digital health trials. The largest of these is a 25-site, 400 patient randomized trial on using digital interventions combined with health coaches to improve medication adherence in atrial fibrillation.
Studies like these are essential to the future of digital health, Turakhia said:
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. 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.
The center is also accepting proposals for health-care research projects focused on innovative uses of up to 1,000 Apple watches. In addition to providing up to 1,000 watches, $10,000 will be awarded to the winning project for one year starting in April.
Previously: Stanford study shows wearable sensors can tell when you're getting sick, Talk to your patients about "digital supplements," physicians urge, Harnessing mobile health technologies to transform human health and A call to make digital health technologies available to everyone
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