HIX, A Disaster Foretold, Needs Time

Scott Mace, October 15, 2013

It would be easy to focus on the price of the federal government's health insurance marketplace and expect it to work better than some Web startup launched by a couple of heavily-caffeinated kids. But it wouldn't be fair.


health insurance exchanges


>>>Healthcare.gov system complexity
Source: Xerox

No one ever said information technology was foolproof. Even the most advanced systems today have their glitches. Now we can add healthcare.gov to the list.

Last week, at the CHIME conference, my informal poll of healthcare CIOs found broad agreement that it's no surprise the federal health insurance exchange Web site, healthcare.gov, has been overwhelmed by the number of unexpected visitors and other basic flaws.

Here's one example of how bad it is: A New York Times researcher successfully registered, but despite "more than 40 attempts over the next 11 days," was reportedly unable to log into healthcare.gov.

"I know the government spends a lot of money on their contractors and Web sites, and I also know that it's very difficult for them to make changes because of the process the government may go through," said Pam McNutt, senior vice president and CIO of Methodist Health System in Dallas, TX.

Scott Mace

Scott Mace is the senior technology editor at HealthLeaders Media.

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