Affordable Health Care web site what do we think went wrong? 10/23/2013

What is wrong with web designers for the government? Is it about the money or making it simple, or maybe even over simplifying it.

I went through the process of trying to apply for affordable health care, to see what the site was about and to try to compare existing programs to the offerings. This is not an easy task.  The site needs many improvements. It takes a long time to complete the application and I will explain some of the issues here. I am curious was the site developed in the US or offshore in some way and what was the cost. We do not have those answers covered but I will say the developers don’t seem to have tried the system.

 

  1. How many times can you ask a use to identify the existing health care coverage, who, employer, status and relationship to others on the application. For me it would be at least 4 times. My wife’s employer supplies an insurance plan for us so when we did the application we had to explain the same information multiple times for each of the dependents in the plan. Why? Why not gather this info once and then simply ask which plans each dependent is covered in my simply listing a Yes No type request to indicate which plans each is covered by.
  2. Why ask one question at a time why not create a form style so a user can enter several pieces of information at once and not have to wait for a reply from the server so often adding an incredible amount of wait times.
  3. Over simplified this is really a continuation of #2 but there is a point where oversimplifying the questions adds an unusual number of pages to get simple info.
  4. Editing information is difficult to go back and correct information about a dependent is painful. You can not modify one item with out being asked to complete fields you were not even intending to modify.
  5. Not having tried but based on some of the displays I would imagine there are issues with compatibility with older browsers.
  6. Reduce the number of pages a user must go though or the complaints will continue to burry the process.

Changes to the website should be to simplify and reduce the number of pages to gather the information. This will also reduce the overall server calls and should begin to help improve performance.  The media spends a lot of time being critical of the ideas rather than trying to embrace them.  The companies that have been chosen are most likely competent companies even if the news can find bad things about them. But they may not be the only players that should have been involved in developing this system. The system needs input from individuals and companies that see things differently. The transactions on this system are in lines with systems that are needed for on-line trading, security is an issue and so is useability. While it can not be as streamlined as a trade screen it has to be clean and simple to make it work.  I hope that going forward the companies involved will go to its core audience to learn what is wrong, many of the issues I see are not just it’s slow. Trial with a real audience would have uncovered some of the more obvious glitches.

With all that said I look forward to Affordable Health Care web 2.0 and I hope the revamp is soon, we need to make accessible and affordable care available to everyone. 

One idea for funding this would be to make congress participate in the market also, just think how much funding could be found by just making government employees have to participate in this program as well.

A techies spin on health care reform, hope it was enjoyable.


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