BOSTON, July 27, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, the Digital Health Measurement Collaborative Community (DATAcc) announced its first two projects, which will bring together stakeholders from across the healthcare industry to pre-competitively collaborate on the challenge of diversity, equity and inclusion in digital health measurement. DATAcc is hosted by the Digital Medicine Society (DiMe), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that supports the development of digital medicine through interdisciplinary collaboration, research, teaching, and the promotion of best practices.
The collaborative, which launched in May 2021, comprises leaders from across the government, non-profit, and private sectors, including healthcare systems, medical technology companies, patient advocates, biopharma, and policy organizations. Together, this diverse group of experts has agreed to focus their first few months on digital inclusion, identifying two distinct project goals:
To ensure that a broad spectrum of diverse voices (e.g. different races and ethnicities, people with disabilities, all ages, genders, geographies, socioeconomic status, education levels, health status, and sexual orientations) are included in each stage of the product development lifecycle so that diverse populations can utilize and benefit from digital health measurement.
To standardize the evaluation of inclusivity in the development, deployment and commercialization of digital health measures across contexts of use.
"Equity in health, healthcare, and health outcomes has been a pressing and persistent challenge for decades. Right now, the field has the unique opportunity to build the digital health measurement toolbox with intention, and build it right." says Jennifer Goldsack, CEO of DiMe. "In order to do this, we must create a set of standardized criteria for the inclusion of diverse populations throughout the development, deployment and commercialization phases of a digital health measurement product. This standardized approach will also allow stakeholders to evaluate whether representative data can be collected and help them to identify where there may be disparities in data collection and health outcomes downstream."
Digital health measurement also creates the opportunity for more equitable and accessible clinical research and trials."With digital health measures, we as a company and as a society can access [permission-based] research data on individuals that are not typically seen in traditional healthcare settings," comments Nirosha M. Lederer, Ph.D., Director, Real-World Evidence Strategy at Aetion. "This data can provide valuable insights into the health status of individuals across our society."
Kalvin Yu, MD, Senior Medical Director at BD, echoes these sentiments and sees immediate opportunities to engage with populations that have traditionally been left behind. "For example, many people experiencing homelessness currently have access to cell phones or smartphones. This digital access establishes a meaningful touchpoint to care for the homeless population – potentially enabling connectivity to health providers who can identify appropriate interventions."
On the other hand, estimates of individuals in the U.S. without access to the internet at broadband speeds range from 25 to 163 million people. "Given the current digital divide, providers of healthcare services need to ensure that our products and technologies can work across a spectrum of internet access and speeds," notes Bimal Shah, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Data & Analytics at Teladoc Health. "And for those individuals that do not have reliable, quality access, how can we decouple having access to healthcare technologies from having access to broadband?"
Individuals and clinicians have the difficult task of ascertaining which digital health measurement products would work for a given patient's internet access or technical capabilities. Amy Sheon, PhD, Advisor to the National Digital Inclusion Alliance, believes, "We need a rating or certification system for determining if a digital health product has been developed and tested with considerations for different populations' needs - from those not proficient in English, to those with digital health literacy gaps or those lacking sufficient internet access. This would be immensely useful in ensuring that digital health measurement products can benefit a broad cross-section of society."
DiMe has brought together the many stakeholders necessary to establish and implement a shared vision of high-quality digital health measurement that is available to and effective for every person. The collaborative will use interdisciplinary expertise, data and use cases to approach their first two projects, ultimately producing outcomes that are actionable and can be used by the community to advance the field.
Participating members of DATAcc include:
Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed)
American Telemedicine Association
Becton, Dickinson and Company (BD)
Connected Health Initiative
Consumer Technology Association
Duke University - Big Ideas Lab
FDA, Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH)
Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS)
HHS, Health Sector Cybersecurity Coordination Center (HC3)
Institute for eHealth Equity
Johnson & Johnson
Johns Hopkins Medicine, Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality
National Cancer Institute
National Digital Inclusion Alliance
National Patient Advocate Foundation
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
UC San Diego, ReCODE Health
University of Louisville, Office of Research and Innovation
University of Rochester Medical Center, Center for Health + Technology
Verily Life Sciences
About DATAcc: Hosted by the Digital Medicine Society (DiMe), the Digital Health Measurement Collaborative Community is a pre-competitive collaboration comprising the broad and inclusive range of stakeholders necessary to modernize the way we measure and define health and disease using digital approaches and technologies. Together, this collaborative will develop and demonstrate best practices and advance harmonized approaches to speed the fit-for-purpose use of digital health measurement to improve lives and minimize harm.
About the Digital Medicine Society: The Digital Medicine Society (DiMe) is the professional society serving the digital medicine community, driving scientific progress and broad acceptance of digital medicine to enhance public health. 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!