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small business technology / IT (hardware & software)

Healthcare.gov, Heal Thy Self

As so often happens, initial diagnosis are frequently wrong. When “Healthcare.gov” launched and the early reports stated that no one could register, things did not work, and pages did not load, the initial diagnosis was that the site was being overwhelmed by users.

This seemed unlikely to me. Having been in the industry for over 18 years, we have made thousands of forms and hundreds of thousands of web pages for clients. In order to overwhelm a modest number of servers you would need thousands of users simultaneously. I just could not fathom all of those people looking for healthcare at the same time.

Could the various government agencies developing this site really have underestimated how many users were going to use the system, and in this day and age, when servers are now capable of handling thousands of requests per second, how few machines did the government dedicate to the effort?

The latest reports stated that the problem may have been with the system. The numbers of users are not fully disclosed, but my gut feeling is that the problem was not with the servers, but they are easy scapegoats. The issue I think is an architectural one. Only time will tell if the doctor can save the patient.

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