The technical criticisms of the Healthcare.gov web site are becoming more strident:
WASHINGTON — The federal health care exchange was built using 10-year-old technology that may require constant fixes and updates for the next six months and the eventual overhaul of the entire system, technology experts told USA TODAY.
“The application could be fundamentally flawed,” said Jeff Kim, president of CDNetworks, a content-delivery network. “They may be using 1990s technology in 2.0 world.”
Recent changes have made the exchanges easier to use, but they still require clearing the computer’s cache several times, stopping a pop-up blocker, talking to people via Web chat who suggest waiting until the server is not busy, opening links in new windows and clicking on every available possibility on a page in the hopes of not receiving an error message. With those changes, it took one hour to navigate the HealthCare.gov enrollment process Wednesday.
Those steps shouldn’t be necessary, experts said.
“I have never seen a website — in the last five years — require you to delete the cache in an effort to resolve errors,” said Dan Schuyler, a director at Leavitt Partners, a health care group by former Health and Human Services secretary Mike Leavitt. “This is a very early Web 1.0 type of fix.”
Multiple problems are noted and they go on to suggest that the site may need a complete do-over.
It’s well known that design teams need to be small and cohesive and, frankly, it’s hard to have a small, cohesive design team with a web site with as many moving parts and as many players involved in the development as Healthcare.gov.
An additional problem. In a sense every computer program is a map of the designers’ and/or developers’ minds. The more complicated the problem that the program attempts to solve, the smarter the designer must be to see the inherent simplicity in the problem. There are some problems so complex that nobody is that smart.