Inside the Design-Thinking Environment USDS Is Creating at CMS

Samantha Ehlinger | Fed Scoop | September 13, 2016

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is on a fast track to revamp the way Medicare pays its care providers.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is looking to craft its extensive Quality Payment Program with a user-centered design program baked in, an official said Monday. And with the user at the center, that means completely changing the way those program requirements are created.

“One of the big things that we learned early on, that the U.S. Digital Service has been helping CMS do more tangibly, is actually test and understand how users would interact with the new policy before the policy is finalized,” Natalie Kates, product manager at U.S. Digital Service, said at a conference Monday on customer experience for the federal government.

During a panel on design thinking for improving customer experience, Kates and Adrien Abrams, chief product owner at CMS’ Quality Payment Program, discussed the many changes they are trying to implement while designing the program, including employing an agile development strategy, regularly testing user experience and upgrading the program's technology infrastructure...