HealthCare.gov fixer takes top spot of new 'U.S. Digital Service'

Published on August 13, 2014 at 2:11 AM · No Comments

The White House says it wants to apply the approach that was used to resuscitate the federal online insurance marketplace after its disastrous launch to the government's other troubled websites and computer systems. 

The New York Times: White House Picks Engineer From Google To Fix Sites
Faced with the politically devastating collapse of HealthCare.gov last year, President Obama's White House staff lured Mikey Dickerson away from Google to save the day. Mr. Dickerson will lead a new government team that is intended to identify and fix the government's other failing computer systems and websites, officials said Monday (Shear, 8/11).

The Washington Post: White House Launches 'U.S. Digital Service,' With Healthcare.Gov Fixer At The Helm
The White House on Monday announced that it is formally launching a new U.S. Digital Service and that it has hired to lead it Mikey Dickerson, an engineer widely credited with playing a central role in salvaging HealthCare.gov after its disastrous launch. The idea behind the USDS, as the White House has taken to calling it, is institutionalizing the approach that saved the health care site and applying it to the work of the government even before disaster strikes (Scola, 8/11).

The Wall Street Journal's CIO Journal: White House Proves It Can Lure Top Tech Talent
That the White House managed to land a seasoned engineer from one of the world's leading tech companies is as much a surprise as it is a coup. Top technology talent usually is reluctant to work for the government, John Challenger, CEO of professional staffing firm Challenger Gray & Christmas Inc. told CIO Journal in January. Not only is the pay often lower, but government work can be too bureaucratic and process-centric for people used to Silicon Valley's coding culture. "We need much better tech workers in government but I just don't think you can get there from here," said Mr. Challenge (Boulton, 8/11).

McClatchy: After HealthCare.gov, White House Creates Team To Solve Tech Problems
The White House announced Monday that it will use the same digital and technology experts that helped fix HealthCare.gov to solve other government technology problems. The U.S. Digital Service, comprised of a small team of digital experts, will collaborate with federal agencies to make websites more consumer friendly, to identify and fix problems and to help upgrade the government's technology (Kumar, 8/11).

Modern Healthcare: HealthCare.gov Vet To Head New U.S. Digital Team To Improve Fed Websites
Dickerson had worked at Google for seven years before joining the effort to save HealthCare.gov. In typical tech cheekiness, his LinkedIn page notes that he had "No Fancy Title, Thanks" at that four-month stint with the federal insurance exchange site. (Tahir, 8/11).

The Associated Press: Obama Takes Step to Improve Government Technology
"I'm excited for the opportunity to shift the focus of government IT delivery from compliance to greater impact and meeting the needs of real citizens," Dickerson said in a statement. "We can make services a lot more effective and cost efficient with better use of technology." In the midst of the health care website's troubles, Obama bemoaned the limitations of government IT procurement procedures and called for changing to the system (Pace and Anderson, 8/11).

Politico Pro: W.H. Launches Fed Website Fixer
Hoping to prevent another HealthCare.gov disaster, the White House on Monday launched the U.S. Digital Service, a team of experts that aims to fix problems with government websites and help upgrade federal technology infrastructure. ... The effort is the Obama administration's latest effort to grapple with the federal technology shortcomings exposed by HealthCare.gov. When it became clear last fall that millions of Americans were unable to log on to the health care website, the administration brought in a "tech surge" of experts to tackle the glitches (Bachman, 8/11).


http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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