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Stanford Medicine Named Winner of the 2023 Hearst Health Prize in Partnership with the UCLA Center for SMART Health

The UCLA Center for SMART Health, an interdisciplinary collaborative that looks to the integrated transformation of healthcare through emergent data and technologies, and Hearst Health, a division of Hearst and leader in care guidance, announced Thursday that Stanford Medicine is the winner of the 2023 Hearst Health Prize. Stanford won the award for its artificial intelligence (AI) solution that helps identify patients at risk for heart attack.

The $100,000 award for excellence in data science in healthcare was presented by Gregory Dorn, MD, MPH, president of Hearst Health; Arash Naeim, MD, PhD, co-director of UCLA Center for SMART Health; and Alex Bui, PhD, co-director of the UCLA Center for SMART Health, during the proceedings of UCLA Health Data Day.

“All of us on the Stanford Medicine team share a vision for designing more advanced systems to deliver potentially life-saving interventions to patients,” said Alexander Sandhu, MD, MS, the Stanford Medicine project lead who accepted the award. “As a physician, it is tremendously gratifying to see the powerful role data science can play in improving clinical care.”

Stanford’s Incidental Coronary Calcium team aimed to use the detection of coronary artery calcium from computed tomography (CT) of the chest to improve the primary prevention of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease [WATCH VIDEO]. Coronary artery calcium—an established predictor of heart attack and stroke—can be identified on chest CTs. About 15 million chest CTs are performed for various reasons in the US each year, while chest CTs specifically to detect coronary artery calcium are conducted only about 60,000 times per year. The Stanford team developed an AI algorithm that searches existing chest CTs in the patient record to identify calcium deposits and present this information to primary care physicians. A multi-center study of the program showed that across the patients identified by Stanford’s algorithm, the following results were achieved compared with usual care:

  • Statin therapy: 51.2% received a statin prescription versus 6.9% with usual care (p<0.001)
  • Shared decision making: 77.9% had a statin discussion or prescription compared with 12.0% with usual care (p<0.001)
  • LDL cholesterol reduction: 97.2 mg/dL versus 115.3 mg/dL with usual care (p=0.005)

“The Stanford Medicine program demonstrates what a powerful resource AI can be for clinicians as they care for patients,” said Dorn. “Our hope is that others will be inspired to design data science solutions that support clinicians to make a meaningful impact on health outcomes.”

Now in its seventh year, the Hearst Health Prize is a $100,000 award that recognizes data science projects and programs demonstrating improved health outcomes for US populations. The competition is offered in partnership with the UCLA Center for SMART Health and attracts a diverse set of applications from across the nation, which are evaluated by UCLA reviewers and a distinguished panel of judges. In 2023, Stanford’s program scored the highest among all applicants across the evaluation criteria:

  • Health impact or outcome
  • Data science approach
  • Operational and financial sustainability
  • Scalability and generalizability
  • Mitigation of bias
  • Significance of the problem and solution

“Deploying AI to identify patient attributes across a vast dataset can help alleviate the workload of clinicians while empowering them to deliver timely care,” said Bui.

Naeim said, “Gaining clinically actionable insights from existing electronic health record data makes our healthcare system better for patients and clinicians alike.”