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The Next Era of Member-Initiated Research at DiMe

Your invitation to apply to DiMe’s 2021–2023 Research Committee and shape DiMe’s Research Agenda

Rachel Chasse

It has been a privilege to witness the power of DiMe’s members to collectively advance the field of digital medicine over the past (less than!) two years. From the multidisciplinary creation of The Playbook, to policy and regulation contributions, our community has consistently rolled up our sleeves to advance the safe, effective, ethical, and equitable use of digital health.

Our success is the result of strong insistence on evidence, a commitment to collaboration, and a focus on the patients, participants and people our field exists to serve. We define digital medicine as an evidence-based field and I’m particularly proud of those leading our research — and today, you have the opportunity to apply to become a part of this fantastic team.

DiMe’s Research Committee (RC) leads our member-initiated research projects: it is an inclusive committee that values diversity in expertise, thought, and demographic background.

DiMe’s Research Committee (RC) promotes digital medicine as an evidence-based field. Apply to join the new RC here.

DiMe’s inaugural RC, active from 2019–2021, was co-chaired by Elena Izmailova, chief scientific officer at Koneksa, and Jessie Bakker, associate director of clinical affairs at Philips. The manuscript from this committee, “Fit-for-Purpose Biometric Monitoring Technologies (BioMeT): Leveraging the Laboratory Biomarker Experience”, was peer-reviewed and published in Clinical and Translational Science in August 2020.

DiMe is proud to announce the co-chairs for the 2021–2023 DiMe RC: Isaac Rodriguez-Chavez, senior vice president of the Global Center of Excellence for Decentralized Clinical Trials at PRA Health Sciences, and Benjamin Vandendriessche, chief medical officer at Byteflies. In this blog post, I chat with Isaac and Ben about their vision for the new Research Committee, and how DiMe members can apply to the committee to help impact the field of digital medicine.

We are thrilled to have you co-chair the Research Committee’s (RC) next chapter! What excites you about this opportunity?

Isaac: For me, it is definitely the vision, mission, goals, leadership, and group of outstanding colleagues thriving to make impactful contributions in the field of digital medicine. I am personally committed to the success of DiMe and making the transformative and irreversible process of implementing decentralized clinical trials linked to digital medicine a global reality. I am also a member of DiMe’s Scientific Leadership Board, so for me, it makes sense to bridge both activities to provide a more comprehensive service to DiMe and the community at large.

Ben: Digital medicine is evolving rapidly and it is not easy for stakeholders to stay up to date on all new developments. The need to summarize information for developers, regulators, payers, healthcare professionals, and patients is large and growing. The moment I joined DiMe, I was excited about what the organization could mean for the field, and I’ve not been disappointed. DiMe is the organization for digital medicine professionals, and its leadership continues to push boundaries every day. I am excited to continue to build on these foundations as co-chair of the RC, and work even more closely with the exceptionally knowledgeable DiMe community.

The field has advanced significantly since DiMe launched in 2019. As you take the reins of the RC during a global pandemic, what is your vision shaping the future of digital medicine through member-initiated research?

Isaac: The COVID-19 pandemic has catalyzed digital medicine, which was already evolving quickly. There are critical scientific, logistical, and regulatory gaps relative to the digitization of existing endpoints and the development of novel digital endpoints for adoption in digital medicine that need our assistance. The same applies to artificial intelligence, machine learning, and the use of software as a medical device in digital medicine. We should create digital health roadmaps to harmonize development and multi-functional utilization in the digital medicine field.

Ben: Not only has the field advanced, so has DiMe. Since its inception, DiMe membership has grown tremendously, rendering it a broad and diverse stakeholder representation. This is critical to ensure we formulate the right questions to move the field forward. I want to emphasize that the RC is responsible for driving DiMe’s research agenda, but to do so, we need to leverage that collective knowledge and expertise. I see the committee as a facilitator to let the right questions float to the surface, rally relevant experts around generating answers, and amplify those answers to the entire community.

Who should apply to serve on the RC for this upcoming term?

Isaac: DiMe’s RC is composed of professionals from multiple disciplines that are leaders in the field of digital medicine along with the development and use of technologies to enable it. We look for dynamic and vibrant professionals who would like to lead projects and make valuable contributions to improve our field. These professionals include scientists, computer experts, engineers, physicians, nurses, health-focused lawyers, and biomedical experts at all levels in their careers.

Ben: DiMe is a volunteer organization so, by definition, its members are personally driven individuals and many contribute to its mission on a regular basis. Being part of the Research Committee takes that one step further: it provides an opportunity to be in the driving seat of the DiMe research agenda and lead groups of your peers to accomplish that agenda. Isaac and I plan to keep the pace high to ensure the RC generates timely work that is a reflection of what is moving in the field. We will only be successful in that mission if we can find like-minded individuals who are experts in their domain but at the same time are eager to learn from their peers.

Why should DiMe members apply to the RC? What’s in it for them?

Isaac: DiMe RC members experience many benefits: learning and/or enhancing their scientific and biomedical leadership skills; getting exposure to a selected group of distinguished professionals who are leaders in their respective disciples; receiving prestigious and global visibility by participating in multiple events while being coined professionally with the prominence of DiMe; and getting to make impactful contributions in digital medicine. They get to expand their network and professional horizon in unprecedented ways; the more they invest in our projects and colleagues, the more the multiplication of benefits are obtained.

Ben: I wholeheartedly agree with Isaac. Since joining DiMe back in 2019, I have learned a great deal from engaging with the organization. I have been exposed to different viewpoints and repeatedly got the opportunity to contribute my viewpoints. The atmosphere is one of mutual respect and collaboration. The RC provides an excellent vehicle for people wanting to leave their mark. It will only pay off if you are willing to actively participate but the potential return is large: have your voice be heard internationally and learn from your peers.

In your wildest dreams, how has our field changed by the end of your term as co-chairs of the DiMe RC in 2023?

Isaac: I hope that by the end of our term, we have implemented projects that have seeded the digital medicine field and steered it in the direction of adoption of digital endpoints in multiple settings and for many capabilities. I hope that our contributions eventually will become historical hallmarks that pivoted the next generation of developments in the field at large to make it better.

Ben: The promise of digital medicine lies at the intersection of a complicated multidisciplinary field. In my opinion, that is one of its major strengths but it could also prove to be a weakness if we do not spend enough time reaching out and educating the medical, research, and patient communities. In the end, they will drive adoption of digital medicine and health tools into drug development and clinical practice. It is our responsibility, as DiMe members, to give them the means to make safe and informed decisions. I hope that by 2023, we’ll have demonstrable proof of our impact on driving that adoption.

Isaac and Ben, thank you for joining me and for leading the next chapter of DiMe’s RC. We all look forward to great things it will accomplish for the field and the patients we serve!

All current DiMe members in good standing are invited to apply to the 2021–2023 DiMe RC. Click here to learn more and apply. This is a competitive application process and applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. The deadline to apply is March 1, 2021.

At DiMe, our commitment to fully integrating experts from all of the disciplines comprising digital medicine is unwavering. From regulators to white-hat hackers, ethicists to engineers, and clinicians to citizen scientists, we are proud to welcome all experts committed to ensuring that digital medicine realizes its full potential to improve human health. Join us!

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