Home page of Medicare website


CMS engineers a website redesign for the times

Websites operated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services interact with 47 million beneficiaries, care givers, advocacy groups and others, but the means of those interactions has been changing.

Earlier this year, media outlets reported that worldwide sales of smart phones and tablet computers had exceeded PC sales for the first time. Meanwhile, the White House has been emphasizing the need for open data and an anywhere, any-device strategy for health information. For CMS, two projects represented big strides in that direction. The first, a citizen-centric redesign of Medicare.gov upgraded the information architecture, navigation and look and feel of the website using responsive Web design principles that would provide content to any user device. A second project, Assets.CMS.gov, gave the agency a reusable framework for Web services, Section 508-compliant code libraries and style guides. 

Both initiatives began with the Medicare.gov website redesign, which aimed to creating a lightweight, more user-centric interface, tapping the same data and code base regardless of the device. A central repository also was created to store all resource files for the open-source community. Ultimately, these new architectures will provide long-term value for CMS by supporting the shift of inquiries away from the call centers and toward self-service. With an estimated $9.50 in savings for each self-service inquiry and continued increases in website use from both mobile and desktop users, CMS expects to save $19 million in costs at a minimum for 2012 alone.

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