The National Database for Autism Research (NDAR) is a suite of online tools for storing and sharing autism research data governed by the NIH; its ultimate goal is to maximize results of research by enabling submission of biomedical informatics data, facilitating collaboration among dispersed scientific communities, and presenting a gateway for end users and administrators—to speed up the path to disease discovery and treatment. Extensive effort was required to coordinate multiple teams with different functions and create one system to provide access to research and clinical data. In addition, the system had to provide rapid data sharing and be aggressive in leveraging existing and new data, while following strict medical privacy rules.
To address client issues with requirements gathering, system design, enterprise architecture and policy support, development, testing, deployment, and project management, Sapient implemented program management tools and processes effective in NDAR’s development, analysis and maintenance. As part of this effort, we collaborated with NIH leadership to align goals and expectations; they were presented with routine project overviews, and a consistent feedback mechanism ensured delivery of requirements on time and on budget. Sapient rebuilt NDAR’s existing system, with updated tools and security measures to streamline data sharing and to provide a faster, more secure, more reliable service.
We have led the system’s development effort since 2007, providing regular, successful releases of updates to the system and a level of consistency that allows NDAR to remain a leading force in autism research. In 2008 and 2009, the work received the NIH Award of Merit, "In recognition of exceptional contributions in the development of the NDAR Project, resulting in a system that will allow researchers to explore autism in fundamentally new ways."