The success of the Digital Medicine Society (DiMe) will be measured not by our work, but by our impact on advancing digital medicine to optimize human health. So, together, we must ask ourselves: what are we working to achieve?
When we founded DiMe, we identified three pressing issues that must be addressed to advance digital medicine. Outlined below, these issues — and our proposed solutions — serve as DiMe’s manifesto. It is not simply documentation of the problems we are trying to solve, our aims, and goals. It also serves as a declaration to which our members and the field of digital medicine can hold us accountable to ‘what we are working to achieve’.
Problem 1: Lack of Evidence
The accelerating rate of change of technology in the consumer and clinical space has presented more opportunities than ever for change, including improving healthcare. Many new technologies have been selling themselves as “digital health” products, yet outside of informatics products (EHRs and ancillary systems) and medical devices (from pacemakers to ultrasounds), digital health remains poorly defined.
As such, it has become nearly impossible to know which, if any, of these technologies and tools
- To trust
- Have evidence to support their impact on patient and citizen outcomes
- Might do harm and what those harms may be
DiMe Solution: Enable High Quality Research
DiMe engages, focuses, and convenes experts to position and undertake research activities fostering a true understanding of digital medicine tools that:
- Enhance the efficiency of clinical research
- Expand access to care
- Reduce the cost of care
- Improve health outcomes
DiMe takes both a top-down and a bottom-up approach to identifying research topics that are most critical to the advancement of the field. Research activities include, but are not limited to:
- Dissemination and implementation
- Development of practice guidelines
- Establishment of evidence-based standards for research and care, from the ethical to technical domains
DiMe promotes digital medicine as an evidence-oriented field and will support scientific and operational priorities and promote best practices.
Problem 2: Fragmentation and Lack of Alignment
Digital medicine is not a brand new concept. However, it has not yet been a well-defined and supported field of study. We propose a new and intentional field at the intersection of medicine, healthcare, and technology. This requires that experts from each domain understand enough about the others to be able to embrace new paradigms.
- Engineers must design and build in a way that recognizes the complex and heavily regulated world of healthcare
- Clinicians must lead the design, validation, and adoption of software as a clinical tool
- Regulators, payers, and safety-focused organizations must swiftly modernize their approaches to ensure that we are all are able to safely reap all of the benefits that digital medicine may offer.
DiMe Solution: Communication and Education
DiMe is the proverbial water-cooler around which digital medicine professionals mingle. It serves as a collection point for information generated by and exchanged between various stakeholders and across the many disciplines comprising the field.
Through such tools as webinars, workshops, and a crowd-sourced reading list, DiMe helps all individuals within digital medicine to hone their expertise through access to information from all areas of the field, and especially information beyond their own specialties. DiMe’s thoughtful, targeted, and dynamic dissemination channels also ensure that members are exposed to the most robust evidence, best practices, and guiding principles. Education on these topics includes content based on DiMe-generated research, as well as other high-quality sources such as relevant regulatory guidance.
Problem 3: Isolated Silos of Progress
To thrive as a field, digital medicine requires an unprecedented level of interdisciplinary collaboration. From regulators to white-hat hackers, ethicists to engineers, and clinicians to citizen scientists, new cooperative networks must emerge to ensure that digital medicine realizes its full potential to improve human health. Currently, these potential experts exist within many silos with few existing connections to colleagues across the healthcare-technology divide. Many intra-domain divides exist, too, including within large organizations. No other organization provides a professional home for folks from each of the disciplines that comprise digital medicine.
DiMe Solution: Community Building
DiMe is the only professional society that aims to serve all contributors to digital medicine. We provide a professional home to a wide range of passionate interdisciplinary individuals, from interested students and recent graduates to emerging leaders in the field. By fostering connections, collaborations, and a common set of shared goals and values, we ensure that all will flourish and reach their full potential. And, in turn, we can continue to nurture and evolve nurturing the nascent field of digital medicine — on that keeps the patient front of mind.
Join the DiMe Community
If these issues resonate, I encourage you to join us. DiMe has clear goals for the future of digital medicine, health, and healthcare. We welcome your help in keeping us accountable to achieve these goals.