Data Visualization and Storytelling using Human Centered Design (HCD)


Performance management in the public sector is an ongoing, systematic approach to improving results, with a focus on accountability, evidence-based decision making, and continuous organizational learning. For over a decade, CORMAC has provided business intelligence and analytical services to support this initiative for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

As a prime contractor, CORMAC developed 40+ interactive dashboards for CMS’ Performance Management System (PMS) — also known as the Research, Demonstration, & Information System (RDIS). These were developed for use by CMS management, the White House, Congress and other federal entities, allowing them to view performance data for mandates such as the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

CORMAC designed these dashboards to provide the most intuitive experiences possible — minimizing the need for user manuals and extensive training. Applying our core expertise in data visualization and human-centered design (HCD), we built dashboards that could visualize complex enterprise data and present performance insights in a way users could quickly understand.

“For an outstanding job on the requirements development and implementation of the MAC Performance Dashboards allowing CMS to enhance performance and oversight of procurement activities.”

– 2017 CMS Honor Award for Operational Excellence

“I love love love love love love love it. I cannot wait to play around with the data. Thank you all so much! This is truly powerful stuff and will help us in the future.”

– Aryana Khalid, OA, CMS

CORMAC equipped all dashboards with capabilities for descriptive, predictive and prescriptive analytics. When applied to performance data, these analytics would provide users with a clear picture of current conditions, potential outcomes and best options, enabling faster decision making.

Leveraging Agile SCRUM methodology and HCD, our experts worked closely with customers to design a user experience that would meet users’ exact needs. Using wireframing as a best practice, CORMAC iteratively developed interfaces and navigations that supported the proposed user journey. During this process, we closely adhered to the rules of the U.S. Web Design System (USDS) Playbook.

In all aspects of the engagement, CORMAC addressed complexity head on — embracing the challenge of simplifying complicated efforts through design.

Business Benefits and Outcomes

Our work in visualizing the performance metrics on various mandates and programs resulted in more effective program monitoring, improved oversight and greater transparency. It provided consistent data our customer can use to analyze permit and review practices and identify ways to further improve the effectiveness and efficiency of these programs.

Innovations to Bring Business Value

  • AgileSCRUM. Developing with an Agile SCRUM methodology allowed for iterative testing and releases, making it easy to predict how the final product would perform.
  • Wireframing and HCD techniques. From design to testing, constant collaboration with stakeholders ensured the final product aligned with user needs and delivered an intuitive experience.
  • Flexible data models and ELT techniques.  The ability to rapidly integrate disparate data supports quick turnaround of work products.
  • Machine learning.  Prescriptive analytics capabilities help users decide on the best course of action based on current conditions and projected outcomes.

Areas of Expertise

Data Management
Our customers realize measurable gains because we help them find the data they need —quickly, securely, and reliably — throughout the data lifecycle.
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Data Analytics
Using data science and business intelligence tools, we provide the power to turn raw data into insights and opportunities.
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Health Information Technology (HIT)
We develop custom solutions in data management and analytics to strengthen performance in public healthcare programs.
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