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The Obama administration's plan for avoiding another Obamacare disaster: 'Understand what people need

FILE - This March 1, 2014 file photo shows part of the website for HealthCare.gov, seen in Washington. President Barack Obama’s health care law has become a tale of two Americas. States that fully embraced the law’s coverage expansion are experiencing a significant drop in the share of their residents who remain uninsured, according to an extensive new poll released Tuesday. States whose leaders still object to “Obamacare” are seeing much less change. The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, cumulatively based on tens of thousands of interviews, found a drop of 4 percentage points in the share of uninsured residents for states that adopted the law’s Medicaid expansion and either built or helped run their own online insurance markets. (AP Photo/Jon Elswick, File) AP Photo/Jon Elswick, File\n

The Obama administration on Monday pledged to ensure that government-run IT services keep the consumer in mind — an admission, of sorts, that it needs to approach these projects much differently in order to avoid disasters like last year's Obamacare rollout.

The administration released its new game-plan in the context of announcing a new U.S. Digital Service, a team of tech experts that will act as consultants across the entire federal government. The group is being led by Mikey Dickerson, who was on the team that helped fix the HealthCare.gov website late last year.

The Obama administration released a new game plan for dealing with IT projects, which includes seemingly intuitive advice such as 'make it simple and intuitive.' (AP Photo/Jon Elswick, File)

The initiative includes a 13-point "playbook" that offers such simple advice as "make it simple and intuitive," and starts with the advice that officials working on government IT projects must first "understand what people need."

According to the playbook, understanding what people need means spending time with prospective users of the service, assessing how the IT tool will help them achieve their goal, and testing.

The second "play" calls on the government to "address the whole experience, from start to finish," which is followed by "make it simple and intuitive."

"Assign one leader and hole that person accountable" is another "play," as is "bring in experienced teams." The playbook also calls for automated testing."

The White House said the U.S. Digital Service is housed in the Office of Management and Budget, and will use existing funds to start the project. Officials are hoping for additional funding in 2015.

A fact sheet on the initiative said its goal is to bring government IT projects "in line with the best private sector services."

One last thing…
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