HHS uses widgets and live blogging

The widget created to help consumers get the latest online information on the Health and Human Services Department’s recall of peanuts has generated 40 million hits, according to a new report.

The department’s widgets are icons and their associated code that can be placed on Web sites. HHS is currently offering several widgets that link to department Web sites that offer updates on food safety, swine flu and spending under the economic stimulus law, according to a 15-page HHS progress report posted to the Web on April 29.

The report offers updates and details on HHS’ implementation of major administration programs, including health information technology incentives, emergency responses to the H1N1 swine flu virus and health care reform.

HHS said it uses several technologies, including Web sites, e-mail systems, widgets, live blogging, mapping and webcast videos.

“The peanut widget alone generated 40 million hits to the Food and Drug Administration’s Web site, the report said. HHS also coordinated a satellite media tour after the peanut recall to make consumers aware of potentially dangerous products.

About 15,000 people subscribe to HHS Health Reform news updates, and the department also has sponsored several live webcasts on the subject that featured live blogging by department officials, the report said.

HHS’ Web site for tracking money provided by the economic stimulus law includes a map that shows obligations to each state. The Web site also has a link allowing visitors to report suspected fraud and abuse of the funds.

Despite those activities, some critics say HHS has a mixed record for using information technology. A well-known blogger, David Stephenson, recently criticized the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for not providing more easily mapped online information to track the latest swine flu infections.

“During [Hurricane] Katrina, I was a broken record in my homeland security/emergency communications blog raking federal agencies over the coals for not realizing the need for a Web-centric 24/7 communications strategy," Stephenson wrote on the Tech President blog April 30. "Now I'm on the backs of CDC and the World Health Organization for the same failure during the current H1N1 crisis.”

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

FCW in Print

In the latest issue: Looking back on three decades of big stories in federal IT.

Featured

  • FCW @ 30 GPS

    FCW @ 30

    Since 1996, FCW has covered it all -- the major contracts, the disruptive technologies, the picayune scandals and the many, many people who make federal IT function. Here's a look back at six of the most significant stories.

  • Shutterstock image.

    A 'minibus' appropriations package could be in the cards

    A short-term funding bill is expected by Sept. 30 to keep the federal government operating through early December, but after that the options get more complicated.

  • Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco

    DOD launches new tech hub in Austin

    The DOD is opening a new Defense Innovation Unit Experimental office in Austin, Texas, while Congress debates legislation that could defund DIUx.

  • Shutterstock image.

    Merged IT modernization bill punts on funding

    A House panel approved a new IT modernization bill that appears poised to pass, but key funding questions are left for appropriators.

  • General Frost

    Army wants cyber capability everywhere

    The Army's cyber director said cyber, electronic warfare and information operations must be integrated into warfighters' doctrine and training.

  • Rising Star 2013

    Meet the 2016 Rising Stars

    FCW honors 30 early-career leaders in federal IT.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group