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Why I joined DiMe: A letter from our CSO

Ieuan Clay

For those of you that don’t know me yet, my name is Ieuan Clay, and I’m pleased to share that I am the new Chief Scientific Officer at the Digital Medicine Society (DiMe) . I’d like to share with you why I made that move, and why this is such an exciting time for DiMe and for the whole field of digital medicine.

My journey to working in digital medicine started during my time as a student, where I saw how a new technology, and the new kinds of data that the technology produces, can fundamentally change how we think about something. That is especially true in health settings, where we are trying to improve lives, but are often limited by our ability to define or measure “improvement”.

After joining Novartis and being given the opportunity to play a role in building up their digital measures capabilities, I started to understand how important it is to understand the everyday experience of people impacted by a condition or other limitation in their health, and that new technologies can be a critical tool in gaining a more holistic understanding of that experience

This is the opportunity that is driving a huge increase in the number of trials that incorporate digital measures and other technologies. Like many people, I was very excited by this opportunity, but it took me a while to understand fully that it isn’t about what we *could* measure, but what we *should* measure. After joining Evidation and having the chance to work with some amazing colleagues, I really grasped the importance of “measures that matter”, especially during our work with the American College of Cardiology on developing tools to help patients living with heart failure. Here we were really thinking about taking what is traditionally thought of as “evidence” and turning it into a source of direct value for patients.

“It isn’t about what we *could* measure, but what we *should* measure.”

Working across these different settings, there were a few key things that motivated me to join Team DiMe. Firstly, I am someone who is motivated by impact. I am very passionate about my work and I want a sense that all this energy I am pouring into it is making a difference to people. Working in healthcare always provides this, but I wanted a more explicit connection. DiMe is defining and shaping the field of digital medicine, through our work and our community we are making it easier for everyone to realize the value of digital medicine tools. Resources like V3 or The Playbook have an outsized impact. A lot of our new projects, like the Nocturnal Scratch consortium are evolving DiMe’s work from “telling” to “showing”, putting into practice the frameworks we have developed to ensure that meaningful progress is being made. This evolution is set to continue, with some very exciting projects teed up for 2022.

“DiMe is defining and shaping the field of digital medicine, through our work and our community we are making it easier for everyone to realize the value of digital medicine tools.”

A second reason that I joined DiMe is that I love the freedom that working for a non-profit brings. DiMe is a 501c3 nonprofit that exists to advance the safe, effective, equitable, and ethical use of digital medicine to optimize human health. This means our mission-driven work has urgency and purpose, but no alternate agenda. This might mean just focusing on getting the right people in the room to solve the problem in front of us. Our DATAcc collaborative community and IMPACT initiative are great examples of this. It also means we are free to focus on the longer term growth of the field for the benefit of all. This includes being able to dedicate significant effort to educational efforts, some of which we will be rolling out in 2022, which help the general public understand digital medicine or enable people to implement digital medicine in their daily work.

“This means our mission-driven work has urgency and purpose, but no alternate agendas.”

And now for the third and final reason I joined DiMe:, I want to continue to learn. I am very grateful to everyone I have met and learned from in my career so far, and joining DiMe represents another step in that journey. The leadership, my colleagues and the wider DiMe community are amazing individuals. With so many different perspectives, backgrounds and journeys, Team DiMe has not only made me feel incredibly welcome, but also taught me so much already, and I am sure that learning curve will continue!

The sense of purpose, impact and freedom combined with the opportunity to learn and grow are some of the personal reasons why I joined DiMe. Perhaps more than anything else, I was motivated by the vision for the future of DiMe. DiMe is growing and scaling to adapt to the needs of the field, evolving what we do and taking on ever larger challenges. I know I’m excited about where we are going – I hope you are too. 

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