HealthCare.gov Progress and Performance Report

by Sabrina I. Pacifici on December 2, 2013

CMS.gov: “In mid-October, the Obama administration conducted an assessment of the site HealthCare.gov.  The assessment was conducted by experts from across government and private sector.  The team identified the problems and necessary fixes and determined that HealthCare.gov was fixable, but only with significant changes to the management approach, and a relentless focus on execution. This report details the substantial progress that has been made to improve and stabilize HealthCare.gov, including hundreds of software fixes and numerous hardware upgrades, so that the system runs smoothly for the vast majority of users. The status of HealthCare.gov in October was marked by an unacceptable user experience.  Consumers were experiencing slow response times and frequent, inexplicable error messages.  The website experienced frequent outages. For some weeks in the month of October, the site was down an estimated 60 percent of the time. The assessment determined the root causes for these site flaws to be hundreds of software bugs, insufficient hardware and infrastructure.  The system monitoring and response mechanisms were not sufficient for identifying issues or bugs or responding to them in real time.  Inadequate management oversight and coordination among technical teams prevented real-time decision making and efficient responses to address the issues with the site. Improving the user experience for HealthCare.gov required deeper real-time analysis to the system, additional technical expertise, and a strong management structure to drive the prioritization and metric-driven execution of fixes.  The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) appointed QSSI as the General Contractor and Systems Integrator.  QSSI, with their deep project management expertise, coordinates all activity with CMS and other contractors.  With one central command structure and “War Room” meetings of all key parties held twice a day for real-time, data-based decision making, the team has been able to implement high-performance management practices and drive through a priority set of fixes.”

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