Thursday, May 20, 2010

The CMS / CGI Partnership

The contract that most sports enthusiasts are pondering this summer is that of Lebron James. However, if you are interested in the healthcare / web development equivalent of this question you need not wait any longer.

This week, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that it has awarded CGI Federal, Inc. a five-year, $73.2 million contract to redevelop three of their websites that enable Medicare beneficiaries to find information about their healthcare programs.

The three sites -, and - provides information for 44 million beneficiaries and receives a total of 500 million views a year. The sites are primarily focused on allowing consumers to view health claims information, compare health and drug plans based on quality measures and estimated costs, and create a report listing information that they can share with their healthcare providers. As an example of the importance HHS puts on the ability to navigate the site, the following video was released involving Secretary Sebelius walking viewers through the

The execution of this contract will be an extremely interesting task. It has been well documented that a large chunk of the healthcare reform package will be enacted and implemented over this period of time, and as new regulations are developed on items such as the role of social media, these three websites will have to be well managed.

CGI and CMS have had a long standing and successful collaboration, including projects like the Hospital Compare and Nursing Home Compare tools, which combine geographical data from Google Maps with healthcare provider quality-of-care information to help users locate and assess nearby healthcare facilities. Additionally, CGI was awarded the Enterprise System Development (ESD) contract, which covers systems development and integration, system and application engineering and technical support to improve the automated systems and agency-wide applications of the Health and Human Services Department.

However, this project will involve developing tools for the public at large, not a subset of experts in the industry. It is a different mode of thinking, but the potential is there for a new evolution of internet communication.

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