Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) formed the Integrated Consortium of Laboratory Networks (ICLN) to strengthen United States homeland security through a coordinated and interoperable system of laboratory networks. These networks include nine federal agencies and multiple state public health agencies (http://www.icln.org/).
The ICLN Information Technology Communication and Coordination (ITCC) Subgroup consists of participating federal agencies and state and local public health representatives. The ITCC is charged with identifying and recommending data and technological standards and implementation strategies for data collection, management, and exchange. A basic goal is to create a national network for the sharing of laboratory information.
One of the primary challenges to this work was bringing together network and technical representatives from multiple federal, state, and local agencies to work together on a common solution. Each agency used different processes, systems, and standards to process laboratory data. An additional challenge was that the work needed to be coordinated in a distributed fashion as representatives were located across the United States.
The St. John Group provides leadership to the ITCC committee by serving as the committee chairperson and project manager. We are leveraging our strong competency in facilitation to manage across the diverse entities. Our team is using online collaboration tools for file sharing, web conferences for remote meetings, and standard artifacts and processes to effectively communicate requirements and deliverables. We have also facilitated multiple in-person workshops at our facilities in Atlanta, Georgia.
The St. John Group’s deep understanding of public health and laboratory systems is allowing us to navigate the interagency dynamics and facilitate a successful solution design. As part of the effort, we provide project management, meeting facilitation, and scheduling related to the operation of the ITCC itself.
Additionally, we provide business analysis to support the documentation of current network information exchange capacities, policies, and infrastructure. This work has resulted in our recent strategy recommendation that included short and long-term architectures for improved data exchange at the federal level. The first phase of this architecture has been implemented in a test environment and has been successfully used in multiple exercises.
This project is on time and on budget.