Many times I refer to Acrobat as a Swiss Army Knife? Why? Like a Swiss Army Knife you need to have it with you always, it can help you in emergencies, and is a tool you can use daily. I use Acrobat daily in my work, even prior to joining Adobe. Many times it has been my life saver as I needed to edit a PDF file that no one could find the original document. Enter Acrobat, as my emergency rescue, I just export the PDF to Word and begin editing.
In state and local government, I find they use Acrobat the way we sometimes use a Swiss Army knife. We get out the knife blade or in Acrobat’s case the Create PDF blade and we forget there are other tools in Acrobat. In our post today I would like to explore some of the other uses of Acrobat or its other blades.
On March 9th, at the Open Future reception at SXSW, Adobe announced support for the OpenStand initiative. Our rationale for this was simple – OpenStand is good for the Web, good for users, and good for Adobe. It increases innovation, openness, and allows greater participation in evolving the Internet.
The Internet is built on standards. These standards come from all sorts of organizations – some formal and supported by governments, some less formal and created by industry associations, and some driven by users who believe in collective action. OpenStand takes a simple position on these organizations – if the organization is open, transparent, balanced, has due process in creation, and has broad consensus – then the organization and its specifications are legitimate.
I can’t pretend to understand the many twisting, churning governmental machinations behind Sequestration, or even Snowquestration, but my imagination paints a number of closed-door, deeply-partisan and highly unpleasant confrontations between legislators who pride themselves on one-upmanship, not unlike how Congressman Francis Underwood deviously masterminds passage of Education Reform in Netflix’s House of Cards. In this case, I believe life likely imitates art, not the other way around.
Regardless of the opaque political process behind cutting $1.2 Trillion from Government agencies over 10 years, uncertainty and discomfort have reverberated across all sectors of Government since Monday. One notable example has resulted in the cancellation of the Defense Intelligence Worldwide conference, which has been a critical hub for industry interaction with the US Intelligence Community for years. Adobe looked very much forward to hosting many of our meetings at our 20×20 booth with bleeding-edge demonstrations, try-it-yourself kiosks and (of course) swag giveaways, so we share the frustration and disappointment that the conference organizers, technology vendors and Gov IT personnel must be feeling right now.
I’m the “cinephile” in my community. I have a regular email list of 10-20 guys whom I’ll ping for impromptu movie nights. When I travel for work, I’m always trying to “sneak in a movie” after hours. During Oscar season I am especially vigilant to try and see as many Best Picture contenders as possible before the Big Night.
This past weekend I saw Zero Dark Thirty. It was particularly interesting to me, as Adobe’s Digital Media solutions consultant for the Department of Defense and Intelligence Community (DoD/IC). As such, I was looking for any sign of Adobe software that might have been used to apprehend suspected terrorists — just as I do when watching Homeland — because hey, I might have sold it to them!
Of course, which specific software is leveraged by which specific agency for which purpose is often classified information. However, I can tell you that many of the latest innovations in Adobe software help keep America safer and more secure, whether it’s for rapid intelligence gathering, secure data dissemination, high-quality visualization, or forensically analyzing and reconstructing digital evidence.
This week, with the commemoration of Veterans Day in the US (and Remembrance Day in Canada), we honored those who have selflessly served in our country’s military with honor and distinction so that the freedoms we cherish may endure.
As a veteran of the US Coast Guard, I am proud to highlight a few of the ways that Adobe is collaborating with Veteran Affairs agencies in North America to improve access for disabled veterans and modernize administrative operations. In many cases, due to gains in efficiency, some resources may be reallocated to the actual care of the veterans these agencies are committed to serve.
Streamlining workflows for management of benefits claims
US and Canadian VA agencies, including the US Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA), have standardized on multiple Adobe solutions, like LiveCycle for BPM, transforming processes to collect, track, and automate the millions of benefits claims they receive every year.
The organizations have since reported reduced data error rates and significant improvements in efficiency throughout their enterprises, achieving the simple goals of fewer administrative delays and more timely service delivery for our veterans.
Extending usability of veterans’ health records and other critical information
Considering that most systems of record were implemented before today’s mobile revolution, it’s no surprise that many of them do not natively support remote usability of enterprise information and multi-channel functionality for self-service apps.
To anyone passionate about applying technology to drive transformative change and improve the way we live, this week is shaping up to be a tough one to beat in the public sector. It’s been like receiving a gift-wrapped box of energy, laser focused on government innovation and modernization.
Yesterday, President Obama issued a memorandum to the heads of all US executive departments and agencies calling on them to leverage “technological advances to fundamentally change how they serve their customers.”
“For far too long, the American people have been forced to navigate a labyrinth of information across different Government programs in order to find the services they need. In addition, at a time when Americans increasingly pay bills and buy tickets on mobile devices, Government services often are not optimized for smartphones or tablets, assuming the services are even available online.”
As a follow-up to Executive Order 13571 (Streamlining Service Delivery and Improving Customer Service) which he signed in April 2011, the president’s memo also announced the release of a new Government-wide strategy developed to accomplish the monumental goal of enabling “more efficient and coordinated digital service delivery” across all agencies.
Simultaneously, yesterday in New York City at TechCrunch Disrupt 2012, Steven Van Roekel (US Chief Information Officer) and Todd Park (US Chief Technology Officer), launched this landmark initiative to thousands of attendees excited to learn the details.
Encouraging agencies to deliver information in new ways that fully utilize the power and potential of mobile and web-based technologies
Ensuring the safe and secure delivery and use of digital services to protect information and privacy
Requiring all agencies to establish central online resources for outside developers, and to adopt new standards for making applicable Government information open and machine-readable by default
In today’s interconnected global economy, such leadership will likely provide a blueprint for similar international efforts as government enterprises worldwide mobilize to optimize efficiency and offer citizens digital experiences on par with those offered by their private sector counterparts.
To that end, we recently hosted the first annual Adobe Government Assembly (AGA) for Canada. The recent creation of Shared Services Canada, a new agency dedicated to optimizing service delivery, has brought new attention to efforts there to "improve the efficiency of IT services across the Canadian federal government and ensure value for taxpayers' dollars."
As we’ve posted about several times in the recent past (including here and here), the Adobe Gov UK team has been holding a series of webinars focused on the public sector.
The importance of open standards to the future of public sector ICT was the latest topic, for an event that took place on August 31. The event covered whether open standards finally allow the public sector to join up service delivery, what standards are key, and how will they be decided.
The panel included:
Bill McCluggage, Deputy Government CIO and Director of ICT Strategy & Policy at the Cabinet Office
Mark Brett, Policy & Programme Manager at Socitm
Marc Straat, Adobe’s European Head of Standards
Helen Olsen, Managing Editor, UKauthorITy and IT in Use magazine
An on-demand version of the webinar is now available here; we encourage you to check it out. And to participate in future webinars in the series see the ITU Live registration site here.
As always, keep in touch with the AdobeGov team on Twitter @AdobeGov.
So what’s the difference between data and information? Usability, of course.
When the hidden value of “data” is unlocked by providing it in context – when and where it’s needed- then the magical result is “information” that be may put to good use.
Many of today’s health IT applications, from Personal Health Records (PHRs) to telemedicine, are based on that premise. But when it comes to sharing the highest resolution medical images in real-time, that capability has been traditionally reserved for select specialists in a hospital, like radiologists and cardiologists, who have access to special workstations and Picture Archiving and Communications Systems (PACS).
After identifying such a critical gap, the founders of Client Outlook Inc. developed eUnity, a medical imaging integration and viewing solution for the enterprise, built on the Adobe Flash platform.
A version of eUnity was first showcased on a Blackberry Playbook at Adobe MAX 2010.
Since then, Client Outlook has iterated on the platform, bringing a version to standard desktops, where physicians may now rely on these images for diagnostic purposes. At the same time, the company extended the service in mobile and tablet platforms— on Android and more recently on iOS, where high-quality medical images can be shared and reviewed at the point of care.
Recently, I spent some time with Steve Rankin, Client Outlook’s President and CEO, at HIMSS 2011 and he explained some of the benefits of the Flash platform from a developer’s perspective. Overall, developers have found that working with eUnity is approximately 30 percent faster than using other technologies.
This compliant, Flash-platform based solution helps set new standards for displaying a wider range of medical imagery, along with related metadata, at higher resolutions on more devices with unmatched performance. And, more importantly, it empowers clinical staff to make informed, quick decisions about patient care anytime and anywhere.
Looking ahead, plans are already underway to extend eUnity from a standalone client-server solution to an even more robust platform, incorporating the Adobe Digital Enterprise Platform to support highly automated workflows and further optimize the customer experience of providers who leverage this innovative solution.
As always, we’re interested in your thoughts and continuing the conversation on innovations in Health IT and otherwise. Keep in touch with us on Twitter @AdobeGov and our Facebook page.
I recently spoke with an Adobe customer in the Intelligence Community who wanted to dispel the myth, once and for all, that Creatives don’t dwell in Government; “We’re not all sad, grey button-pushers here in the Public Sector!” he shouted. “There are tons of engaged, outgoing, creative people who love design!”
After touring across the country on our Roadshow, I’ve seen first-hand evidence that this is true! There has been a sea change of creativity and design-first thinking over the last few years in Government, spearheaded by the refresh of whitehouse.gov and trickling down through organizations like Sunlight Labs and Code for America. Many services like itdashboard.gov, data.gov and usa.gov provide clean, simple, forward-thinking design that bolsters engagement and usability, as well as 508 compliance! Mobile sites and apps, which are inherently usable and design-centric, have exploded across the Public Sector, with many agencies planning well ahead of the curve.
Designers face a unique challenge these days: which medium, screen, surface, platform, runtime, or browser is the most important to design for? When it comes to government, the short answer is: all of them! Constituents demand constant access to government services and data from wherever they happen to be, with whichever media or screen they happen to be confronting, and their experience of those services must be intuitive, compelling and “sticky,” in order to bring them back the next time. The “correct” design methodology for laying out a engaging, adaptable, and accessible interface that complies with the most recent standards, whether they are based in the world of paper, e-readers, motion graphics, or web browsers, is a constantly moving target.
Adobe prides itself in providing design tools and technologies that allow our customers to create exceptional standards-compliant experiences across screens and devices, and this week we are proud to unveil a few projects that we’ve been working on to help the greater design community create, learn and collaborate around new and emerging standards for the web:
2) The Expressive Web beta. This new site is both a resource and showcase that highlights some of the most creative and expressive features being added to the web today. In addition to highlighting and providing information on twelve new HTML5 and CSS3 features, the site itself makes extensive use of new web standards to provide a visually compelling resource for learning more about HTML5 and CSS3.
3) Adobe Drive 3. This software enables seamless integration of a digital asset management (DAM) system with Adobe Creative Suite 5 and CS5.5 applications. Once connected to a DAM server, a creative team can access remote assets through their native operating system’s file browser, through Adobe Bridge, or from the menus of CS products that integrate with Drive: Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and InCopy. The newest version of Drive enables connection to any DAM that implements the CMIS specification, an industry-wide standard.
In addition to these announcements, Adobe has many other projects cooking when it comes to standards compliance across the web and devices. For example, we have released a prototype of a Flash-to-HTML conversion tool codenamed Wallaby. Check out some more of these projects on our HTML5 home page, and send your designers and web developers to our HTML5 Developer Center for the latest updates.
Buy low, sell high
Possession is nine tenths of the law
Location. Location. Location.
These are timeless mantras with universal appeal that require no further explanation. Yet, with moderate accuracy, they tend to simplify and define the fundamentals of otherwise very complicated industries.
Similarly, in my opinion, the rapidly evolving role of IT throughout today’s healthcare ecosystem may be summed up in two words. Experience matters.
But don’t just take my word for it. Time and again research has shown that, among diverse healthcare stakeholders, a major determining factor of technology adoption is customer experience. And you don’t have to be a brain surgeon to understand that, regardless of how ground-breaking it may be, the success of any new product or solution hinges on the assumption that people will actually use it. Otherwise, it is useless.
During a recent interview for Focus Washington’s “Tech View”, I was asked about some of the financial “incentives for innovation” in healthcare resulting from the HITECH Act and the Health Reform legislation passed last year, as well as the role that customer experience plays in successfully bringing these innovations to market and beyond.
As a result of “Meaningful Use,” or that set of implementation criteria for electronic health records (EHRs) that determines eligibility for CMS incentive programs, providers are now expected to do more with their patients’ EHRs. In the long run, this will likely improve clinical workflow efficiencies and quality of care. Meanwhile, however, providers are demanding that these systems provide a higher level of functionality, usability, and overall customer experience.
To that end, the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) is working with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) to develop guidelines that measure usability for EHRs and other Health IT systems.
“All too often we hear from providers that they look forward to the day when the technology works for them instead of them working for the technology,” said Farzad Mostashari, MD, national coordinator for health information technology at ONC.
Health plans are learning the same lessons about customer experience in the payer segment. A recent report by Forrester (Best and Worst of Website User Experience, 2011: Health Insurers) evaluated the websites of seven leading health plans. Despite improved functional capabilities of some health insurers’ web presence, as they seek to leverage the power of social brand engagement, the report found that no insurer achieved a passing score; and in fact all had significant shortcomings in key areas.
That’s not to say that these companies aren’t adequately servicing their customers or generating year-over-year revenue growth. Instead, it unveils the alarming trend of a sizable missed opportunity for differentiation and brand loyalty in an uber-competitive market with low member switching costs. And in that case, the byproduct of an optimized customer experience can certainly be measured throughout the enterprise; but particularly in the bottom line.
In the end, it behooves any healthcare organization to protect their investments in technology by deploying solutions that were developed with the customer experience as a key focus. There, after all, is where the rubber meets the road. And how fast is an expensive turbo-charged sports car if all its tires are flat?
Do you have a mantra for Health IT or customer experience (or anything)? Reply to this posting in Comments and on Twitter @AdobeGov and @AdobeCEM to be heard.