Three Ad Hoc-supported projects win FedHealthIT awards

June 11, 2019

Recently, three federal health projects supported by Ad Hoc won Innovation Awards from FedHealthIT. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) won for their work on the Beneficiary Claims Data API (BCDA) and the Federally Facilitated Marketplace Cloud Migration, while the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) won for Lighthouse, their API program. Ad Hoc is proud to support these projects and help federal health offices better serve the public.

The 2019 FedHealthIT Innovation Award logo

We’d also like to thank our partners on these projects: Fearless and Oddball. Close working collaboration between our organizations is part of how we help these agencies achieve their missions.

Beneficiary Claims Data API (BCDA)

BCDA is a new way to get critical bulk data to health care organizations working to improve the quality of care they provide to Medicare recipients. These organizations, known as Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) regularly receive a collection of bulk data files from CMS with certain categories of their beneficiaries’ claims. These files contain data on medical care their beneficiaries have had outside of the ACO. For example, if a Medicare beneficiary lives in New York but spends the winter in Florida and receives medical care there, their ACO in New York would use these bulk data files to learn what types of care they received.

After listening to feedback from ACOs, CMS hired Ad Hoc and Fearless to build a streamlined, modern way for ACOs to get access to this critical data. The BCDA will provide an API designed to give the right data to the right people at the right time. That means secure access for authorized people, an easier way to get the data as soon as it’s available, and data in the industry-standard FHIR format. This should reduce the burden on ACOs for changes to the data and increase efficiency by creating an easier way for data systems to talk to each other.

Federally Facilitated Marketplace Cloud Migration

HealthCare.gov has two primary components: a public-facing interface to apply for health coverage and a set of backend systems that store the data and implement the business logic to power the public site. Ad Hoc has worked with CMS since 2014 to build the public-facing components in the cloud to ensure they are stable and scalable.

Last year, CMS began moving the backend systems from a data center to a cloud-hosted environment. Though the front end was already in the cloud, Ad Hoc had to create a test strategy to ensure the new backend systems properly integrated with the front end and the migration didn’t disrupt the experience for people signing up for health care. In partnership with CMS, Accenture, and other vendors, Ad Hoc helped test the system’s components, diagnose issues, and verify the final integrations.

Thanks to the efforts of the whole team, CMS was able to migrate the backend without any disruption to the public. Now this critical website is using modern infrastructure and is better prepared for future improvements to make sure finding health coverage is as easy as possible.

VA Lighthouse

VA Lighthouse is an API platform that gives developers secure access to the VA data they need to build helpful tools and services for Veterans. Like the BCDA program, this modern and secure set of APIs has provided a way for developers to use data Veterans have chosen to share to improve the benefit claim submission process and make it easy to locate a VA facility with the shortest wait times.

Ad Hoc worked with VA to ensure that VA Lighthouse APIs were intuitive, easy-to-use, and designed based on direct user feedback. For example, in a recent blog post we went in depth on how we redesigned the information architecture of the API documentation website to ensure that developers could find the information they needed.

Each participant went through six tasks which we tracked, accumulated and analyzed. The results from this study showed us that some of our assumptions on the proposed IA were inaccurate. It also helped to set a clear path on how we could change those to better serve developers.

Ad Hoc’s work as part of the Ad Hoc - Oddball Join Venture (AOJV) on VA Lighthouse is a piece of VA’s larger modernization strategy and is already creating a huge impact on the speed and ease of Veteran digital services at VA.

Congratulations to our customers at CMS and VA for this well-deserved recognition. We’re proud to bring our skills to these amazing and important programs.

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