Health Reform

Park: Demand overwhelmed healthcare.gov

futuristic touchscreens

The long waits and error messages experienced by users trying to set up accounts and shop for insurance using the HealthCare.Gov site are due -- at least in part -- to flaws in the signup process, which could not accommodate the higher than expected number of visitors, according to U.S. Chief Technology Officer Todd Park.

The system was designed to support 60,000 simultaneous users, but the site has attracted more than 250,000, Park told USA Today. "These bugs were functions of volume. Take away the volume and it works," Park said.

Designers based their estimates for demand on the site for Medicare Part D, which supports 30,000 simultaneous users. Park told the New York Times in a subsequent report that the companies are addressing the error. "The contractors have sent reinforcements. They are working 24/7. We just wish there was more time in a day," Park said.

Wait times to access the HealthCare.Gov site have dropped by 50 percent since Oct. 4, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. The department also reported short wait times to reach phone centers for enrollment.

In an Oct. 7 appearance on "The Daily Show," HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius called the rollout "a little rockier than we would have liked," and said the system was "better today than it was yesterday."

Host Jon Stewart opened his interview with a dig at the online system. "We're going to do a challenge," Stewart said. "I'm going to try and download every movie ever made and you are going to try to sign up for Obamacare -- and we'll see which happens first."

About the Author

Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.

Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy, health IT and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mr. Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian started his career as an arts reporter and critic, and has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, Architect magazine, and other publications. He was an editorial assistant and staff writer at the now-defunct New York Press and arts editor at the About.com online network in the 1990s, and was a weekly contributor of music and film reviews to the Washington Times from 2007 to 2014.

Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.


The Fed 100

Save the date for 28th annual Federal 100 Awards Gala.

Featured

  • computer network

    How Einstein changes the way government does business

    The Department of Commerce is revising its confidentiality agreement for statistical data survey respondents to reflect the fact that the Department of Homeland Security could see some of that data if it is captured by the Einstein system.

  • Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. Army photo by Monica King. Jan. 26, 2017.

    Mattis mulls consolidation in IT, cyber

    In a Feb. 17 memo, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told senior leadership to establish teams to look for duplication across the armed services in business operations, including in IT and cybersecurity.

  • Image from Shutterstock.com

    DHS vague on rules for election aid, say states

    State election officials had more questions than answers after a Department of Homeland Security presentation on the designation of election systems as critical U.S. infrastructure.

  • Org Chart Stock Art - Shutterstock

    How the hiring freeze targets millennials

    The government desperately needs younger talent to replace an aging workforce, and experts say that a freeze on hiring doesn't help.

  • Shutterstock image: healthcare digital interface.

    VA moves ahead with homegrown scheduling IT

    The Department of Veterans Affairs will test an internally developed scheduling module at primary care sites nationwide to see if it's ready to service the entire agency.

  • Shutterstock images (honglouwawa & 0beron): Bitcoin image overlay replaced with a dollar sign on a hardware circuit.

    MGT Act poised for a comeback

    After missing in the last Congress, drafters of a bill to encourage cloud adoption are looking for a new plan.

Reader comments

Tue, Oct 8, 2013 J-Low D.C.

I'm here to tell you that Kathleen Sebelius is not telling you the truth. Keep digging FCW.

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