Digital Medicine Community Perspectives and Challenges: Survey Study (Preprint)
The field of digital medicine has seen rapid growth over the past decade. With this unfettered growth, challenges surrounding interoperability have emerged as a critical barrier to translating digital medicine into practice. In order to understand how to mitigate challenges in digital medicine research and practice, this community must understand the landscape of digital medicine professionals, which digital medicine tools are being used and how, and user perspectives on current challenges in the field of digital medicine.
The primary objective of this study is to provide information to the digital medicine community that is working to establish frameworks and best practices for interoperability in digital medicine. We sought to learn about the background of digital medicine professionals and determine which sensors and file types are being used most commonly in digital medicine research. We also sought to understand perspectives on digital medicine interoperability.
We used a web-based survey to query a total of 56 digital medicine professionals from May 1, 2020, to July 10, 2020, on their educational and work experience, the sensors, file types, and toolkits they use professionally, and their perspectives on interoperability in digital medicine.
We determined that the digital medicine community comes from diverse educational backgrounds and uses a variety of sensors and file types. Sensors measuring physical activity and the cardiovascular system are the most frequently used, and smartphones continue to be the dominant source of digital health information collection in the digital medicine community. We show that there is not a general consensus on file types in digital medicine, and data are currently handled in multiple ways. There is consensus that interoperability is a critical impediment in digital medicine, with 93% (52) of survey respondents in agreement. However, only 36% (20) of respondents currently use tools for interoperability in digital medicine. We identified three key interoperability needs to be met: integration with electronic health records, implementation of standard data schemas, and standard and verifiable methods for digital medicine research. We show that digital medicine professionals are eager to adopt new tools to solve interoperability problems, and we suggest tools to support digital medicine interoperability.
Understanding the digital medicine community, the sensors and file types they use, and their perspectives on interoperability will enable the development and implementation of solutions that fill critical interoperability gaps in digital medicine. The challenges to interoperability outlined by this study will drive the next steps in creating an interoperable digital medicine community. Establishing best practices to address these challenges and employing platforms for digital medicine interoperability will be essential to furthering the field of digital medicine.
Bent, B; Sim, I; Dunn, JP
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