Showing posts with label NIH. Show all posts
Showing posts with label NIH. Show all posts

September 24, 2013

Cancel Out Those Tremors


This is a wonderful new product available from Lift Labs.

It is a spoon for people that suffer from hand tremors, like those from Parkinson's Disease. 

With tremors, a person has trouble lifting the spoon to their mouth and doing it without spilling.

With Lifeware, the tremors are said to be reduced in trials by 70%!

The spoon is battery operated and it has sensors for the tremors and performs countermeasures to stabilize itself. 

It does this with technology including an accelerometer and microprocessor to actively cancel out the tremor. 

In the future, additional attachments are forecasted, including a folk, keyholder, and more. 

The special device was made possible through a grant under the NIH Small Business Innovation Research Program.

An awesome advance for Parkinson's patients to be more self-sufficient and live with dignity despite such a debilitating illness.

Thank you to the engineers at Life Labs (and to the NIH) for bringing this stabilization technology to those who really can benefit from it.
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January 28, 2008

HSPD-12 and Enterprise Architecture

Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12, 27 August 2004, is a “Policy for a Common Identification Standard for Federal Employees and Contractors.”

HSPD-12 establishes a mandatory, Government-wide standard for secure and reliable forms of identification issued by the Federal Government to its employees and contractors (including contractor employees).

The policy mandates promulgation and implementation of secure, reliable identification that covers Federally controlled facilities, Federally controlled information systems, and other Federal applications that are important for security. "Secure and reliable forms of identification" for purposes of this directive means identification that (a) is issued based on sound criteria for verifying an individual employee's identity; (b) is strongly resistant to identity fraud, tampering, counterfeiting, and terrorist exploitation; (c) can be rapidly authenticated electronically; and (d) is issued only by providers whose reliability has been established by an official accreditation process. The Standard will include graduated criteria, from least secure to most secure, to ensure flexibility in selecting the appropriate level of security for each application.”

In Government Computer News, 27 October 2007, Jack Jones, the CIO of the National Institute of Health (and Warren Suss, contractor) discuss how NIH leveraged the mandates of HSPD-12 to not only implement the common identification standard for more than 18,000 federal employees [and another 18,000 part time employees, contractors, fellows, and grant reviewers] on its main campus in Bethesda, Md., and at satellite sites nationwide,” but also modified and improved it's business processes to ensure a holistic and successful architectural implementation.

What business modifications were involved?

HSPD-12 was a catalyst for change at the institutes. The NIH Enterprise Directory (NED), which automated the process for registering and distributing badges to new NIH employees, needed to be revised to comply with HSPD-12...the conversation led to a re-examination of the broader set of processes involved in bringing a new employee onboard. In addition to registering new employees and issuing badges, NIH, like other federal agencies, must assign e-mail addresses, add new employees to multiple agency mailing lists, order new phones, assign new phone numbers and update the phone directory.”

How did NIH address this using enterprise architecture?

NIH changed its enterprise architecture through a formal, facilitated business modeling process that involved all NIH stakeholder groups. The results included clarifications in the policies and procedures for processing new employees along with the transformation of NED into a significantly improved tool to support better communication and collaboration in the broad NIH community.”

From a User-centric EA perspective, this is a great example of EA supporting successful organizational change. NIH, like other federal agencies, was faced with the mandates of HSPD-12, and rather than just go out and procure a new system to meet the requirement, NIH used EA as a tool to look at its entire process for provisioning for new employees including policy. NIT EA modeled it business processes and made necessary modifications, and ensured a successful implementation of the identification system that is supported by sound business process and policy. Additionally, the CIO and the EA did not do this in some ivory tower, but rather in a collaborative “workshops with NIH stakeholder groups”. This collaboration with stakeholders hits on the essence of what User-centric EA is all about and how powerful it can be.



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September 10, 2007

Getting People to Use Enterprise Architecture

There is a terrific white paper from the National Institute of Health (NIH) called Enterprise Architecture: Engaging and Empowering People while Creating Opportunity for Change.

NIH conducted a qualitative research study involving 15 users to understand how user behave and work in order to identify opportunities to foster adoption of EA.

First, NIH identified a clear mandate to not only develop and maintain EA, but for its end use:

Enterprise Architecture (EA) is a critical part of IT strategy in any organization. However, just defining enterprise architecture doesn’t bring its true value of efficiency to the organization nor support for the organization’s strategic objectives. In the EA Assessment Framework 2.0 published by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in December 2005, three capability areas, Completion, Use, and Results are defined as primary objectives of every government agency’s EA program. It is clear that EA is not just an assignment for CIOs to document architecture standards for the agency—for the future value to be realized, it must be used to achieve results.”

Second, NIH identified 3 user segments that are each looking toward the architecture for satisfying different needs. (While the study views all three segments as belonging to EA, I believe that only the first is EA, while the other two are segment and solution architecture.)

  • Trend Finders—want to know “where we are going?” They are interested in understanding the current and future business and IT landscape. (I believe this equates to enterprise architecture and its focus on developing the as-is, to-be, and transition plan.)
  • Fit Seekers—want to know “Does it fit my projects?” They want to find a solution for the project. (I believe this equates to segment architecture and its focus on developing solutions at the line of business (LOB) level.)
  • Fixer-Doers—want to know “How to make it work?” They want to build, maintain, or support a project. (I believe this equates to solutions architecture and its focus on developing technical project solutions for the end-user.)

While the study posits that user segments are not mutually exclusive and that users can actually evolve from one segment to another (and of course this is possible in some cases), I believe that generally speaking the segments do represent unique architecture perspectives in the organizations (enterprise, segment, and solutions architectures as defined in the Federal Enterprise Architecture Practice Guidance, December 2006).

In summary, architecture users are looking to understand the big picture (the EA and IT strategic plan), justify decisions (develop segment architectures that are ‘justified’ by aligning to and complying with the overall EA), and make it work (develop solutions architecture using technical details from the enterprise and segment architectures).

User-centric EA can satisfy the various segment needs by following the opportunities identified in the study to improve EA use. These are as follows (modified to more accurately represent what I believe is their correct application to users.)

For trend seekers/EA:

  • Show the big picture—high-level, non-technical information about the EA (this equates to EA profiles) and the direction of overall business and IT initiatives (this is the business, EA, and IT strategic plans)
  • Provide access to the source—ways to find more information and points of contact

For fit-seekers/segment solutions:

  • Lead to the right information—clear guidance through understandable nomenclature and information structure
  • Provide proof—through IT investment Review Board and EA reviews that include findings and recommendations.

For fixer-doers/solutions architecture:

  • Give specifics for immediate help—through more detailed EA models and inventories as well as SDLC job aids.

For all:

  • Share and enhance—capture performance metrics on EA program and products, especially use of EA information and governance services.

At the end of the day, EA needs to fulfill user’s requirements and empower them to leverage use of the information and services.
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