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The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) and its agencies, managing more than 100 million pages of Web content, must comply with Section 508 of the US Rehabilitation Act, which states that agencies must give disabled employees and members of the public access to information that is comparable to the access available to others.
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is one of the DHHS agencies that is striving for high performance by taking advantage of the Accenture Digital Diagnostics Engine (ADDE). CMS is primarily using the software to scan and review the websites of their Medicare contractors, the entities who process and adjudicate all Medicare claims. ADDE helps the Medicare contractors understand how several of the architectural features and functional components of their websites are performing. Adherence to Section 508 requirements is but one of hundreds of website elements that are included in the reports created for the Medicare contractors using the ADDE scans.
The US Rehabilitation Act requires federal agencies to make their electronic and information technology fully accessible to people with disabilities of all kinds, including mobility and vision impairments. Section 508 was enacted to eliminate barriers in information technology; thus, agencies must give disabled employees and members of the public access to information that is equivalent in content and context to the access available to users without disabilities. The law applies to all federal agencies when they develop, procure, maintain or use electronic and information technology.
CMS websites and those of its contractors have become increasingly large, complex, and dynamic, making the task of monitoring quality and compliance requirements huge. Given the department’s mandate, making its content accessible to persons with disabilities is a high priority. To verify Section 508 compliance, CMS needed a less manual, more automated solution to test the accessibility and usability of its contractors’ Web environment.
Accenture's provision of managed services based on our ADDE software was key to CMS' efforts to manage its Section 508 compliance, and helped CMS' drive toward high performance.
ADDE is not only helping CMS improve the identification and state of Section 508 compliance and noncompliance issues organization-wide, but is also providing an automated, efficient and cost-effective way for CMS to manage its compliance requirements going forward. The product’s sophisticated analytics is providing CMS contractors with comprehensive site discovery information, functional verification, website data quality, site quality and compliance issue identification.
In addition, ADDE’s spatial data architecture provides speed, efficiency and flexibility in support of very specific ad hoc analytics. The product also generates metrics, tracks performance and produces regular reports.
With ADDE, CMS and its contractors hold the potential to efficiently drive tangible improvements as well as establish and maintain high quality and compliance standards—helping to achieve high performance. Automation of previously manual efforts is helping to enable personnel to shift to higher-value activities or other roles. And ultimately, disabled employees and members of the public benefit with access to electronic information that is comparable to the access available to other citizens.
CMS recognized the need for a robust automated solution to review contractor websites (more than 18 different contractor entities) as well as selected CMS sites. CMS decided to use ADDE, a product with a highly intelligent scanning agent and robust set of automated reports. This product scans websites to identify and prioritize technical issues that may be in violation of Section 508 requirements as well as other issues that undermine website performance.
Together with Accenture, CMS implemented a managed service with ADDE with two major goals:
Perform initial scans of contractor websites to establish a compliance and performance baseline.
Conduct full quarterly scans to measure progress in fulfilling the department’s Section 508 Compliance and Remediation Plan.
As a result, CMS has been able to implement, monitor and enforce standards across multiple contractor websites more effectively by using the highly intelligent scanning agent and robust set of automated reports that ADDE provides.
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