Helping agencies learn from NIH’s BRAIN

Helping agencies learn from NIH’s BRAIN

No matter how prepared you might be for that big presentation, someone always asks a question you don’t want to answer without a quick check of the details.

At the National Institutes of Health, the BRAIN changed all that.

The Biomedical Research Advanced Information Network is a cloud-based communications tool for compiling, managing, validating and presenting relevant data. It aggregates information about the NIH’s research initiatives into readily available talking points, visual media and summaries of relevant information that can be used to prepare presentations or even accessed on the fly via mobile device.

Developed in collaboration with Corner Alliance, BRAIN has allowed NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins and staff to share information quickly in situations ranging from routine data drills to congressional appropriations and committee meetings.

NIH BRAIN was so successful, it earned an NIH Director’s award in 2012 and was a Top 30 finalist for ACT-IAC’s 2015 Ignition Innovation Showcase this February.  And now the tool is available for broader use.

Corner Alliance built its latest communication tool, Insite, on the foundations of NIH’s BRAIN. Insite’s cloud-based and web-enabled information gathering, retrieval and sharing platform is expressly designed to help government or business leaders quickly access vital information.

Corner Alliance co-founder Ron Prater highlighted Insite’s short learning curve, intuitive content management system and ability to track changes in data. "For the average client," he said, "we can get the system implemented in just a few weeks."

Insite also lets users create customized records, edit in Microsoft Word, track changes and grant access to workflow dashboards. The data mode can automatically generate charts and graphs, providing a quick understanding of key points and budget information.

Corner Alliance continues to extend Insite, and build on the original functionality of the original BRAIN framework.  The ability to edit and import records from additional software suites, for example, is an obvious next step.

Ultimately, Prater said, the goal is to ensure government officials are as informed and prepared as possible for the high-pressure presentation -- whether to Congress, a department head, the White House or the public. “The ability to answer a question in its entirety," he noted, "is much better than having to say ‘I’ll get back to you on that.’”

About the Author

Shahryar Rivzi is a Maryland-based freelance writer.

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