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HIX, A Disaster Foretold, Needs Time

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media, October 15, 2013

Give it Time
But we are not designing an iPad here, more like a set of incredibly boring plumbing that, like the plumbing in our houses, simply has to work, all the while adhering to an ocean of FIPS (Federal Information Processing Standards) designed by other committees and acts of Congress.

Could the Federal and state procurement processes that produced healthcare.gov be reformed? Sure, there is always room for improvement. But at the federal level, agencies have to deal with 435 cranky investors, each of which has way too much authority over the process without the requisite qualifications to design systems. I don't see a procurement process around that.

Let's all take a breath or two and give this some time. That was my takeaway from CHIME on this whole health insurance exchange mess. The CIOs gathered in Scottsdale, Arizona were indeed far from idle – serving up passionate ideas about how to fix electronic health records, how to move to value-based care, how to align IT goals with business goals.

I don't expect them, or healthcare systems, or even Silicon Valley, to fix the health insurance exchange rollout, and neither should anyone else.


Scott Mace is senior technology editor at HealthLeaders Media.
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3 comments on "HIX, A Disaster Foretold, Needs Time"


Frank Poggio (10/16/2013 at 7:41 PM)
Re: "don't expect them, or healthcare systems, or even Silicon Valley, to fix the health insurance exchange rollout, and neither should anyone else." Wow..so magnanimous! So if we should give them more time why won't DHSS give providers/vendors more time for Stage 2? And I still ask- why didn't DHSS put it's contractor HIX vendors thru the ONC Certification test process as they require of provider vendor systems. From my experience in guiding over forty vendor systems thru the ONC process there is no way any of the HIX systems would have passed. Drop down lists that don't work, repeated system outages, would have killed them in the first pass.

Tyco Brahe (10/16/2013 at 10:08 AM)
This moment-by-moment reporting is so useless. They will fix the portal and we will move forward. In a few years, we will look back at all this "disaster" talk and roll our eyes. When Medicare Part D was rolled out, it was a "disaster" of similar proportions, with seniors completely confused about the choices. Now, NO ONE even talks about it. This is a marathon, not a sprint. All the "disaster" talk is premature.

Jim Brunnemer (10/15/2013 at 4:53 PM)
It certainly looks like it will take time to get healthcare.gov fixed. I'd just note your comment on the timing to avoid the individual penalty is not the end of December......I believe they have said an individual would have to be signed up by mid-February to avoid the penalty as they need to have coverage in place effective before the end of March 2014 (so that really means 3/1/2014).