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Agile Computing: Article

Has healthcare.gov Claimed “Mission Accomplished” Too Soon?

Mission Accomplished? Doesn’t look like it for those who want to find their health insurance

Over the weekend those in charge of Healthcare.gov have claimed "Mission Accomplished," that the site is now performing optimally, and will be able to handle 50,000 concurrent users. The healthcare.gov team also stated that if there happens to be a problem they have software in place to help get to the root cause. Any affected user will get a number in line and receive an email when they can return to the site.

However, when we tried to access the site today with our Ajax Edition to see what changes have been made, we received the following error message. In fact as of this report there have been new indications that thousands of people are getting the error message. The question we have is "is this Mission really Accomplished?"

Mission Accomplished? Doesn't look like it for those who want to find their health insurance

It is only about the end user experience
The Healthcare.gov team claimed victory based on some performance metrics that only offer a limited server-side diagnostic view of problems. This means that they are using internal metrics to claim victory that problems are behind them, that error rates are down to 1%, and that response times are under a second. The problem is that none of these metrics have anything to do with the end user. None of the issues that lead to customer frustration are really addressed. Application experts know, back-end server-side performance does not equal end-user satisfaction. Fastcompany.com recently wrote an article about how it is only about the end user when it comes to managing performance. If the performance of the end user is poor it does not matter what is done to fix the errors. People will still be frustrated with the site and will continue to complain. One study suggests that only 10% of users who have a problem will report it.

Let's look at the end-user performance for healthcare.gov over time from across the country for the past 30 days, from November 1 to December 2.

User Experience on November 1

User Experience on December 2: Not a whole lot has changed

As you can see, While the site has improved somewhat since we started monitoring Healthcare.gov, it's certainly not fixed.

Click here to read the full analysis and insight on what readers can take-away from the missteps involved in rolling out Healthcare.gov.

More Stories By Stephen Wilson

Stephen Wilson is a 15 year IT professional that currently holds the Subject Matter Expert role for Compuware APM within the Field Technology Sales organization. His role puts him in front of customers and their challenges on a daily basis. His background includes both development and operations. This kind of insight into the challenges that both developers face as well as those faced by the operational team allows him to be seen as a trusted advisor to his customers. His unique perspective into client needs and goals give creditability to the need for performance not just at one level but across the entire lifecycle.

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