HealthCare.gov: Broken but no Surprise

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There has been a lot of attention in the news lately about the HealthCare.gov website.  The site launched a month ago, and it is still full of problems and bugs.  As an IT guy by trade, I’m not surprised.

When it comes to IT projects of any size, they are always over budget and overdue.  Try as we may, things never work out the way we hoped – even with the best laid plans.

HealthCare-gov-website

Often times, the problems begin when leaders with little IT background make decisions about purely IT-related topics.  This was the case with HealthCare.gov when just days before launch, major changes were made.

One example of this came from a previous job of mine.  We had a small budget to completely re-develop the software platform.  The project was given to the operations team who had little IT background.  Those of us with IT experience were left out of the loop.

After the project went months (and months) overdue, they finally let us take a look at it.  The product was about to be released, and we had little time to test it.  What we found was disastrous.

The program eliminated some key functionality for the sake of esthetics.  It looked pretty but performed poorly.  Unfortunately, the team had already gone 4x over budget, and there was no money left to make the necessary changes.

The product was released shortly after, and it completely flopped.  Users hated it.  Support teams could not fix it.  In the end, the whole package was scrapped.

Does HealthCare.gov need to be scrapped in the same way?  Possibly.  There are so many issues and bugs with it, it may be the only option.  But with this large of an investment already, it will be hard to convince anyone of that.

Honestly, it blows my mind how expensive this site has been.  I work in the field, and I cannot imagine spending hundreds of millions on a site that cannot even perform the most basic of tasks.

Bugs happen.  Everyone expects that.  But the HealthCare.gov is one of the biggest technology failures we have seen on the Internet.

Politics aside, the HealthCare.gov website will go down as one of the largest blunders in U.S. history.  Regardless of what you feel about Obamacare, it is a complete disaster.  Whatever side of the aisle you sit on, we can at least agree on that.

After repeated attempts to sign up and get rates, I have failed.  I cannot get anything out of that system.  What experience have you had?  Have you signed up through the website yet?

Read more of our Tech Talk columns.

Copyright 2013 Chad R. Torgerson

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