What is the future of Federal healthcare?

Audie Hittle

Audie Hittle

Fitbits, FuelBands, and Jawbones, oh my. These words would have been meaningless a few years ago, but today, they represent some of the latest consumer technologies we’re using to track everything from steps to sleep. Wearable technology provides us with more insight into our health than ever before, giving us more incentives to take care of ourselves – whether that means getting in an extra hour of sleep or going for a longer run. These mobile tools also collect mountains of valuable data, and providers across the private and public sector are brainstorming ways to analyze that data to provide better patient care, improve preventative care, and even manage population health.

EMC recently teamed up with MeriTalk to study the impact of wearable technology and mobile devices among healthcare-focused Federal agencies, and results showed that nearly 60% believe Big Data will be crucial to fulfilling their agency objectives. As agencies are beginning to explore Big Data’s potential, they’re using it to tackle everything from clinical trial data management to cost containment. Organizations are also looking at mHealth, or the use of mobile and wireless devices, as a way to improve patient care and communicate with them more effectively.

Over the past five years, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Serviceshas taken the lead in this space and is a great example for other agencies interested in exploring mHealth. For instance, its TXT4Tots program gives parents and caregivers of children aged 1-5 information on nutrition and physical activity, and its Office of Minority Health offers live video-streaming of clinician courses on managing diabetes.

So what is the future of healthcare, you ask? Two words: Big Data. The possibilities are truly endless, and I’m excited to see what developers and our Federal healthcare community will come up with next. If you’d like to read more about this topic, I invite you to check out my colleague Guy Churchward’s recent blog post on the topic.

Recognizing Federal Superheroes

Karen DelPrete

Karen DelPrete

It’s that time of year again – summer blockbusters are hitting the theaters.  Superhero movies are a staple of the summer genre, and it looks like Spider Man, Captain America, and Guardians of the Galaxy will be making appearances on the silver screen this summer.  But people who tirelessly and selflessly use their talents and abilities for good aren’t just in movies – they work among us.  They are the Federal IT leaders who use technology to bring about positive change.

The 2014 MeriTalk Merit Awards program, underwritten by EMC, aims to honor these leaders who perform extraordinary work in general public service, Big Data, cloud computing, cyber security, data center, or mobility/telework.

It’s time to give Feds the recognition they deserve – if you know a hard-working, mission-focused IT leader in the Federal government, nominate them for a 2014 Merit Award – nominations are now being accepted – the submission deadline is Monday, August 4, 2014.  For more information, and to nominate a Federal leader, please visit www.meritalk.com/merit.

Once you nominate a Federal leader for a Merit Award, take the Superhero IT Persona quiz to unlock your alter ego – www.meritalk.com/merit.  You may be the superhero we’ve been waiting for.

The Intelligence Community Runs on (Shared) Data

General John Custer, USA (Retired)

General John Custer, USA (Retired)

By John M. Custer, Director, Federal Missions and Programs, EMC

The intelligence community (IC) runs on data – from information on cyber threats to details on emerging political unrest. National security is about connecting the dots to ensure the safety of millions of Americans, and the 17 agencies that make up the IC must be integrated in how they collect, store, and analyze this data. Putting fences around information greatly limits its potential, and the IC is making huge strides to break down silos and facilitate better information sharing.

By making information easily-sharable, agencies can collaborate more quickly, speeding up the process of making informed decisions. Say, for instance, that one department is storing a video of an individual involved in a crime, while another has a fraudulent passport naming a wanted suspect. By putting together these pieces of the puzzle, analysts can much more easily identify that person and move forward with the investigation.

The government recognizes this need for shared information and is tackling the challenge on the IT front via the Enhanced Solutions for the Information Technology Enterprise (E-SITE) initiative. The goal is to upgrade system architectures, project management processes and software development to reach new levels of information-sharing and collaboration.

But the E-SITE contract points to a larger shift that’s currently taking place across the IC. Broader and more integrated technology approaches are being pursued under the Intelligence Community Information Technology Enterprise (ICITE) strategy, which started in 2012 and aims to improve integration, information sharing, and information safeguarding. An overarching IT architecture is emerging that no one could have imagined 10 years ago, and holds incredible promise in terms of both mission effectiveness and cost savings. Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Michael Vickers recently said that the intelligence community has made huge strides in this area and that agencies are working much more closely together. He also noted that this integration will continue to be a top priority for both himself and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

This transformation has enormous potential for national security, as improved information-sharing means more pieces of the puzzle can connect to identify and thwart security threats. But looking more granularly, the ICITE strategy also allows for heterogeneous storage environments, and can fast-forward an agency’s path to the cloud by opening up the possibility of software-defined and virtualized storage.

The Defense Intelligence Agency is already releasing an architecture based on this framework, and EMC looks forward to helping agencies transition to a more open, collaborative environment that promotes information sharing.

Mobility Breathes New Life Into Federal Healthcare

Audie Hittle

Audie Hittle

Mobile. You’ve heard the term a million times now. You know that the trend has exploded recently as more and more citizens access and share information across a variety of devices, and it’s only expected to continue growing over time. In fact, IDC predicts that tablets alone will grow at double-digit rates over the next three years in the government IT market.

Driven by Federal initiatives such as the Digital Government Strategy and demand from both citizens and employees, more and more agencies are exploring mobile solutions as a way to deliver better services. The phenomenon is redefining the way that we interact with government, the way we consume and generate information, and ultimately, the way that we work.

Just take the Federal healthcare market, for instance. Physicians can now use mobile devices to access patient data in an instant, transforming the traditional doctor visit by increasing collaboration and engagement with the patient and making care coordination much easier. Together with Big Data, the technology holds tremendous potential for doctors working in the field and remote locations. As I mentioned at the June 17, 2014 HIMSS Government Health IT Conference, 63 percent of Federal executives and leaders say big data will track and manage population health more efficiently, and 60 percent say it will enhance the ability to deliver preventive care services. Another presenter at the conference noted that 9 of 10 doctors would recommend a mobile app to their patients to facilitate awareness and information sharing. Since the data can be accessible from any location and any source, providers can quickly pull up critical information to provide the best care possible, without limitations from unwieldy infrastructures, wires, or IT systems.

My colleague Rohit Ghai recently posted a blog on this topic, and I encourage you to read it if you’d like to learn more. We’re in the midst of an exciting transformation around mobile technology in government, and I’m excited to see what’s next.

Acronym Alliance: DoD, DISA, UC APL, and VMAX

Mike Walsh

Mike Walsh

By Mike Walsh, Department of Defense Lead at EMC

DoD, DISA, UC APL, VMAX. Much more than alphabet soup, this acronym alliance means new procurement efficiency for DoD enterprise-class storage. And, importantly, improved agility, mission support, and operational readiness.

This week, Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) announced that EMC’s VMAX storage array has been added to its Unified Capabilities Approved Product List (UC APL) – certified for Department of Defense (DoD)-wide purchase.

VMAX is the world’s most trusted storage array for demanding virtual environments, delivering industry-leading performance, scale, efficiency, and built-in and information-centric security that accelerates customers’ transformation to the software-defined data center. It is designed to serve as an easy, accessible, secure unit for defense personnel to help them meet rapidly-evolving storage needs.

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