The Journey, Ideation and Digitization – the Birth of the Access Health CT Mobile Platform (Part 1 of 2)

Ideation and Finance

Only a month after the October 1, 2013 launch of the Connecticut Health Insurance Exchange, I held my first discussion to communicate my vision of digitizing the healthcare enrollment process.  This would engage consumers, increase invincible (18-35-year old) participation and leap frog the Connecticut exchange into the next generation of consumer centric products using a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) framework.


On November 5th, 2013 I lead the first discussion on mobile and by November, 6, 2013, the idea was shared and communicated with c-peers and buy-in for a pilot was established.  The Chief Marketing Officer was fully on board as education and awareness started to spread throughout the organization.


How did this start?  On day one, we had nothing but a dream, a vision and a belief that we could help ensure the Connecticut residents had the best healthcare enrollment experience in the country. Pioneers are often dreamers. Meanwhile most states, in November of 2013, could barely breath with the crushing pressure of operational issues, bleeding into every facet of exchange business and draining the energy of already exhausted resources.


On November 14, 2013 the entire solution strategy was defined and was built by leveraging a great ideation template provided by the Corporate Executive Board (CEB).  While this work was occurring in the background, in the forefront several releases between Access Health CT and the CT Medicaid department were in-flight, data transfer projects were under way between agencies and detailed technical checklists were defined for responsive production troubleshooting. Operations were busy but normal, and remarkably no system downtime was reported.


Process (enabling process, core process)

By middle the December 2013, we found that 25% of all visitors were hitting the website from mobile devices (iPads, tablets, iPhones, Android phones).  This helped to drive the cross functional business case for a mobile platform. The technology team was still supporting 200+ servers, hosted across 7 environments, 3 datacenters including 4 highly available environments. After two months of planning market analysis of the assessable, serviceable and target markets the final mobile strategy deck was presented to the CEO in mid-January, 2014. The one page strategy for each initiative included detailed capabilities to be implemented, KPIs tied directly to strategic goals, identified risks (known and unknown), and covered a potential timeline by week.  This short deck included three primary initiatives:

  1. Mobile application for plan comparison and submitting verifications;
  2. Mobile features for alerts, notifications and managing consumer events;
  3. Ability to apply and enroll via mobile for customers, and brokers on kiosks.


These initiatives were tied to three primary strategic goals

  1. Drive increased enrollment;
  2. Increase penetration among invincibles;
  3. Increase customer interaction and touch points


Supported by an amazing cross-functional team of passionate innovators, it was happening; we were changing healthcare forever.


Kevin Counihan, the CEO, full endorsed the approach and we were approved and funded!


The full story of the digitization and launch of the Connecticut Mobile application: Part 1 and Part 2.


References: (2015a). The 2015 CIO 100 Winners: Showcasing the Transformative Power of IT-Business Innovation. Retrieved August 5, 2015, from (2015b). CIO 100 2015 Winner Profile. Retrieved August 5, 2015, from

Previous articleCIO100 Amazing Innovation Achievements
Next articleWhat is the overall situation of state-run Exchanges, compared to the federally facilitated Marketplace? Lets talk capabilities and capacity.
Peter is a technology executive with over 20 years of experience, dedicated to driving innovation, digital transformation, leadership, and data in business. He helps organizations connect strategy to execution to maximize company performance. He has been recognized for Digital Innovation by CIO 100, MIT Sloan, Computerworld, and the Project Management Institute. As Managing Director at OROCA Innovations, Peter leads the CXO advisory services practice, driving digital strategies. Peter was honored as an MIT Sloan CIO Leadership Award Finalist in 2015 and is a regular contributor to on innovation. Peter has led businesses through complex changes, including the adoption of data-first approaches for portfolio management, lean six sigma for operational excellence, departmental transformations, process improvements, maximizing team performance, designing new IT operating models, digitizing platforms, leading large-scale mission-critical technology deployments, product management, agile methodologies, and building high-performance teams. As Chief Information Officer, Peter was responsible for Connecticut’s Health Insurance Exchange’s (HIX) industry-leading digital platform transforming consumerism and retail-oriented services for the health insurance industry. Peter championed the Connecticut marketplace digital implementation with a transformational cloud-based SaaS platform and mobile application recognized as a 2014 PMI Project of the Year Award finalist, CIO 100, and awards for best digital services, API, and platform. He also received a lifetime achievement award for leadership and digital transformation, honored as a 2016 Computerworld Premier 100 IT Leader. Peter is the author of Learning Intelligence: Expand Thinking. Absorb Alternative. Unlock Possibilities (2017), which Marshall Goldsmith, author of the New York Times No. 1 bestseller Triggers, calls "a must-read for any leader wanting to compete in the innovation-powered landscape of today." Peter also authored The Power of Blockchain for Healthcare: How Blockchain Will Ignite The Future of Healthcare (2017), the first book to explore the vast opportunities for blockchain to transform the patient experience. Peter has a B.S. in C.I.S from Bentley University and an MBA from Quinnipiac University, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude. He earned his PMP® in 2001 and is a certified Six Sigma Master Black Belt, Masters in Business Relationship Management (MBRM) and Certified Scrum Master. As a Commercial Rated Aviation Pilot and Master Scuba Diver, Peter understands first hand, how to anticipate change and lead boldly.