The American Heart Association announced it has awarded more than $14 million in scientific research grants to four multidisciplinary teams to develop the AHA’s new Strategically Focused Research Network on Health Technologies and Innovation.

According to a press release, teams at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, The Johns Hopkins University, Stanford University School of Medicine and the University of Michigan will each receive $2.5 million for projects dedicated to health and wellness empowerment, minimizing health care disparities and enhancing patient/provider connectivity. The teams will also receive $4 million for collective research on at least one highly impactful project and in addition, teams may also apply for supplemental grants up to $200,000 for rapid action projects aimed at addressing the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The widespread consumer adoption of healthcare technology, fueled by increasingly sophisticated technology on digital mediums including tablets, smartphones and wearable devices, offers a unique outlet to find new solutions to improve health outcomes,” Robert A. Harrington, M.D., FAHA, President of the AHA, Arthur L. Bloomfield Professor of Medicine and chair of the department of medicine at Stanford University, said in the release. “As the peer review team moved forward with their selection of the centers for our latest Strategically Focused Research Network right at the break of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S., the Association felt this was an incredible opportunity for us to provide additional support in harnessing new innovations to tackle the challenges that are crippling the nation, and frankly the globe.”

The projects, which commenced on April 1, include:

Global health burden of rheumatic heart disease

A research team at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, will address rheumatic heart disease with the aim of moving more people who are living with the disease into guideline-based care; using technology to find individuals living with rheumatic heart disease; generate the investment case to improve rheumatic heart disease response in low-income countries.

Developments in telehealth

The team at The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore aim to leverage smartphone technology to develop and test an app for stroke diagnosis, using the team’s prior experience with a goggle-based eye tracking technology. According to the release, the team will also work on virtual CV rehabilitation that builds on their existing Corrie Health platform.

App for titration of BP medication

A research team at the Stanford University Center for Heart Health Technology plan to develop an app for semi-automated management and evidence-based titration of BP medications. The app will be tested in a randomized trial conducted in a population of rideshare drivers, who can be at increased risk of heart disease, according to the release.

Adaptive tech for life-style improvements

The team at the University of Michigan plan to establish the Wearables In Reducing risk and Enhancing Daily Life-style Center aimed at building and testing mobile health apps that utilize wearables using “just-in-time-adaptive” digital interventions that deliver notifications to participants when the software determines they are most likely to be responsive.

Disclosures: Harrington reports no relevant financial disclosures.