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Government forms digital task force to avoid future Healthcare.gov disasters

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If former Googler Mikey Dickerson and his team could fix that HealthCare.gov nightmare last year, then they can certainly fix any other faulty government website. That's likely what authorities were thinking when they decided to hire this group full time to form the new US Digital Service team. They're supposed to establish digital standards that government agencies should follow, among other things. But, in a nutshell, the task force's duty is to identify and fix shoddy government websites and inject features that'll actually make people want to visit and use them. Dickerson, who'll serve as the team lead after leaving his post as Google's Site Reliability Manager, told The New York Times that mending HealthCare.gov was a life-changing experience, so he couldn't say no to the government's offer.

In addition to introducing the team, the administration has also launched the Digital Services Playbook, which contains pointers for government agencies to follow. These pointers are made up of the best business practices from both private and public sectors, such as "Bring in experienced teams" (which could've avoided the HealthCare.gov fiasco in the first place) and "Use data to drive decisions." Finally, in order to avoid any shady dealings, the government has also come up with the TechFAR Handbook. This one details the correct process of buying goods and services (say, hiring someone outside the Digital Service team to tweak a website) from private sectors.

[Image credit: AFP/Getty Images]

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