On October 30, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testified at a Congressional hearing concerning the glitches with user access for the HealthCare.gov website. House Energy and Commerce Committee members asked Sebelius to explain the technical problems that users have had with trying to register on HealthCare.gov, a website that was launched on October 1.
“We knew that in any big, new, complicated system there would be problems. No one ever imagined the volume of issues and problems that we have had and we must fix it,” Sebelius said during the 3 ½-hour congressional hearing. Sebelius mentioned that the majority of consumers should be able to shop online for health insurance by the end of November.
The source of the problems with the website are derived from placing an intricate system into the hands of a government agency with little experience creating new consumer products, explains Charlene Frizzera, former acting administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid. “You can never test a government system – they never give you enough time or enough money,” said Frizzera, who offered her insight to Wall Street Journal reporter Clint Boulton.
Boulton also recently interviewed John Engates, the CTO of Rackspace®. Engates says that the root of the exchange problems lie in data integration. Engates believes that HealthCare.gov would be less confusing if the government had introduced the exchanges in stages. It would have been more efficient to make the service available to one region the first week and then gradually roll the service out to other regions of the country, Engates says. He also says that the system would have fewer problems if consumers were allowed to browse the different healthcare plans before registering on the site.
Sebelius acknowledged that the introduction of HealthCare.gov was a “debacle.” Hopefully, the government and private sector can learn from the challenges of the HealthCare.gov rollout in order to better prepare for future situations regarding large-scale website data integration.
Click here to read more about Data Integration and how it could positively impact HealthCare.gov.