News in Brief

Health IT hub, open gov at OSTP, a regulatory dashboard and more

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Health IT hub reorganizes

The government bureau leading the effort to get medical practitioners to switch to electronic health records is getting a face lift. The Office of the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology is shrinking from 17 sections to 10 in a reorganization that comes as its authority to spend funds from the 2009 economic stimulus law comes to an end.

The changes will not have much of an effect on the headcount at ONC, and the reorganization appears to be about flattening the structure of the organization and putting more emphasis on priority policy areas.

Data analytics is getting a higher profile. The Office of Economic Analysis, Evaluation, and Modeling, responsible for research on progress on EHR adoption and use, is being merged with the policy planning section, so ONC's stat geeks will have a hand in formulating policy and using their data to drive programming decisions.

OSTP announces own open gov plan

Since the 2009 Open Government directive, the Office of Science and Technology Policy has been working closely with agencies helping them to develop their open government plans. This week, OSTP announced its version.

The plan is based on three flagship efforts and will be carried out over two years. Building off the 2010 and 2012 iterations, OSTP's 2014 plan will update past initiatives and add new subject areas based on the 2014 guidance, Nick Sinai, deputy U.S. CTO, and Corinna Zarek, senior advisor on open government, said in an OSTP blog post.

All agencies had a June 1 deadline to post their plan on the Open Government Working Group's MAX website and on the agency's Open Government webpage in a "format that enables the public to download, analyze, and visualize any information and data in the Plan."

The OSTP 2014 plan includes three main pillars:

  • Access to scientific collections: OSTP aims to help agencies develop policies to improve management of and access to scientific collections that belong to agencies or they support.
  • We the Geeks: OSTP plans to continue hosting We the Geeks Google + Hangouts, which invite the public to participate in conversations with science and technological experts in the hangouts, by asking questions on Twitter.
  • "All Hands on Deck" on STEM education: OSTP had led the president's STEM education initiative, and plans to continue working on that commitment.

Splunk launches open data dashboard for regulation commentary

Analytics software firm Splunk announced the launch of eRegulations Insights, a data visualization dashboard that offers a broad overview at how the public and stakeholder communities are engaging with proposed regulations in the comments sections at

The dashboard also allows for a deep dive into individual proposals, and identifies trends in comment language that can point to organized influence campaigns.

"Understanding public sentiment on particular regulatory issues has always been a hard thing to do," Mark Seward, senior director for public sector at Splunk, told FCW. "Splunk allows the regulator to not only see specific campaigns that all have the same verbiage espousing a particle point of view but also separate out, read and take into consideration the unique comments that come from ordinary citizens."

The platform received more than 356,000 online comment submissions in the first quarter of this year, just 50,000 short of the total number for all of 2013. The Keystone Pipeline docket at the State Department and the IRS' Guidance for Tax-Exempt Social Welfare Organizations on Candidate-Related Political Activities attracted the most activity in recent months.

Good Technology acquires DISA mobile security provider

Good Technology, a secure mobility platform provider, announced it has acquired Fixmo Inc., and its Sentinel Integrity platform.

Late last year, Fixmo was selected as the provider for mobile data protection and cybersecurity solutions for the Defense Information Systems Agency's managed mobile devices, and was deployed as the enterprise-wide mobile device management and mobile application store solution across the Defense Department, according to a statement from Good Technology.

Fixmo's enterprise mobility platform meets the requirements in DISA's Security Technical Implementation Guidelines across Apple iOS and Samsung devices. Also, last year Fixmo announced plans to bring the Fixmo Sentinel device integrity verification and tamper detection solution to the BlackBerry 10 platform.

"With the addition of Fixmo's unique device integrity and tamper detection technology to the industry's leading secure container and platform from Good, we can uniquely deliver defense-grade security to ensure all layers, from the OS to applications and data shared between apps, are protected with the most advanced security framework available," Christy Wyatt, chairman and CEO of Good Technology, said in a release.


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