Imagine being blind or having low vision and needing to go online in search of a doctor to visit for a particular medical condition. A new patient may be asked to create an online account prior to their first visit with a new physician. There are often online forms to be filled out or consent forms to review prior to receiving treatment. In-depth health or family history information associated with the medical condition may need to be shared. Personal private health information will also need to be shared.
How difficult might it be if the patient is blind or has low vision and is trying to search and gather information online about a medical condition or health concern when websites are not fully accommodating to a user with a visual disability?
Most people take for granted the ease of going online to search for whatever it is they need more information about, but when websites are not optimized for ease of use for disabled users that becomes extremely difficult to do. Being able to access online information related to one’s health should be a privilege available to everyone, regardless of a visual, auditory, motor, neural, physical or other disability.
Access to Healthcare Information Must Be Available to All Populations
During a time when our country’s health and safety is at the forefront of our daily activities and information related to COVID-19 is constantly changing, access to this vital health information must be available to everyone. The fastest way to disseminate new information is online. All populations including those in our country with disabilities are entitled to this information. Websites that contain medical or health-related information must be made accessible to users with disabilities.
How Can My Healthcare Organization Check Their Website Accessibility?
T-Base offers Website Audits as well as a Website Compliance Analysis which includes a review of the site’s level of compliance with WCAG 2.0/2.1 AA guidelines, recommendations to ensure continued accessibility, an explanation of any issues that are identified, instructions on how to address each issue, information on adaptive accessibility technologies and more.
T-Base also offers Web Accessibility Training to help your healthcare organization understand the latest legal, moral and ethical obligations in website accessibility for users with disabilities. This training includes Before and After demonstrations to educate your staff on the challenges faced by users who are blind or have low vision and the technologies available to assist them in accessing the healthcare information they need online.
T-Base will test the pages on your website for accessibility and provide you with the tools and techniques that can be applied to make your website more accessible to patients with disabilities.
Your healthcare organization will be able to generate:
- Accessible web forms
- Accessible video and audio for the web (i.e. how to provide transcripts and closed captions)
- Accessible user experience (UX) features in site design
With the growing number of visually impaired, elderly, and disabled patients, and with the current state of our national public health emergency, having access to healthcare providers and healthcare information online is imperative. Patients who are blind or have low vision in a healthcare setting should not be subject to having private health information read aloud to them while maintaining the recommended social distance. These are private exchanges and providing the right format for this sensitive information to be shared is vital. Access to quality healthcare information online should be inclusive to all populations, minority groups and individuals with disabilities.
Healthcare organizations can make improvements to their website to accommodate voice command options, screen reading and other assistive technologies that allow disabled users to access all the same information as other patients. T-Base has the tools and technology to support your website accessibility improvements.