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Google team brought in as part of health website fix

2:48 PM, Oct 31, 2013   |    comments
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WASHINGTON - Technology giant Google has been recruited to help fix HealthCare.gov, the new federal insurance exchange website.

Software companies Red Hat and Oracle will also assist, according to Julie Bataille, spokeswoman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which has coordinated the development of the site that has experienced numerous problems in its first month of operations.

"As part of the 'Tech Surge,' we've added key personnel from the government and private sector, including expert engineers and technology managers," Bataille wrote in a blog item posted Thursday. "These dozens of people are strengthening and reinforcing the team we have working 24/7 to address the problems around HealthCare.gov."

During a question-and-answer session at Oracle's shareholders' meeting today, CEO Larry Ellison said the database giant "think it is our responsibility as a technology provider in the technology industry to serve all of our customers and the federal government is one of our customers so we are helping them in every way we can."

"Most of us want to see our government operating efficiently and effectively and it is incumbent upon us to help them do that," Ellison said.

Michael Dickerson, a site reliability engineer at Google, has taken leave to help rid the federal exchange of its glitches. Greg Gershman, a former Presidential Innovation Fellow and Baltimore software engineer, will help with creating better user experiences.

As a fellow, Gershman worked to make it easier for outsiders, rather than government employees, to navigate the 1,200 websites with federal government information.

Dickerson is working with QSSI, the general contractor coordinating the fixes to the site, Bataille wrote. Gershman is working with CGI Federal, the site's largest contractor, "to improve HealthCare.gov's performance, and helping the development process be more agile so HealthCare.gov can release improvements more rapidly," Bataille wrote.

USA TODAY

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