Digital accessibility in the healthcare industry has become increasingly important in recent years. Digital platforms have become a central aspect of delivering healthcare services. With the rise of telehealth, it is essential to ensure accessible communications to people with disabilities. This is important for providing inclusive healthcare services.
This involves collaboration among various healthcare players, including hospitals, clinics, healthcare providers, and digital technology companies. In this article, we will discuss top 5 steps that healthcare organizations can take to move towards digital accessibility. We will focus on how they can create a more inclusive healthcare environment for all patients.
Understanding the healthcare industry and its advancements
Healthcare has been going through a significant digital transformation. This is because of the extended use of information and communication technologies in the healthcare sector. Patients now have access to healthcare services due to advanced AI technologies.
Source: Digital Authority
The Covid-19 pandemic brings a new reality to access healthcare services through telehealth and telemedicine. Digital health empowers patients, in general. It also allows them to access healthcare services and needs at the point of care or even through remote locations.
Healthcare professionals make use of digital health to reach patients and offer assistance to improve the level of healthcare services. However, ehealth solutions present barriers to patients with disabilities. Websites, MHealth apps, electronic documents are often inaccessible. Patients are forced to ask for assistance to access information. This results in loss of privacy and leaves them open to being exploited.
Many people are just learning of the importance of this issue. However, healthcare organizations are required to provide accessible services since 1998. Section 504 amendments to the Rehabilitation Act requires all healthcare services to be accessible. In this new decade, pleading ignorance is no defense. Below are tips on how to get started on becoming compliant.
Top 5 steps to move towards digital accessibility in the healthcare industry
Digital accessibility refers to websites and mobile applications accessible to everyone, including people with disabilities. In the healthcare industry, digital accessibility is critical to ensuring that all patients can access healthcare services online. This not only helps to create a more inclusive healthcare environment but also improves the overall quality of care provided. Here are the top 5 steps to move towards digital accessibility in the healthcare industry:
Conduct an accessibility audit
Carry out an accessibility audit of your digital platforms, such as websites and mobile apps, to identify any potential barriers. This audit should include testing for compliance with accessibility standards, such as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).
Provide alternative formats
People with disabilities may require alternative formats to access digital content. For example, providing audio descriptions for images or video content can help people with visual impairments access your services. Make sure to provide alternative formats that are compatible with assistive technologies, such as screen readers.
Use accessible design principles
Incorporate accessible design principles into the development of your digital platforms. This includes designing for keyboard accessibility, using high-contrast color schemes, and providing clear and consistent navigation.
Train staff on accessibility
Train your staff on accessibility best practices, including how to create accessible content and use assistive technologies. This will ensure everyone in your organization is aware of accessibility issues and can help create an inclusive digital environment.
Monitor and update accessibility
Monitor your digital platforms regularly to ensure they remain accessible and compliant with accessibility standards. Also, update your accessibility policies and procedures as needed to reflect changes in technology and best practices.
By following these steps, you can ensure your digital platforms are accessible to all patients.
The healthcare industry must prioritize digital accessibility to ensure that all individuals can access the healthcare services they need. By following the top five steps to move towards digital accessibility, healthcare providers can improve patient outcomes. They can comply with legal requirements, and create a more inclusive healthcare system. By working towards a more accessible future, the healthcare industry can create a world where everyone has the opportunity to lead a healthy life.