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Web Accessibility Critical for Health Information Access

#Web #Accessibility #Critical #Health #Information #Access

Chicago, IL, Sept. 27, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Currently, the U.S. healthcare system is failing its older adults and patients with disabilities on the digital front. Web accessibility–or digital accessibility more broadly–involves designing web page content to be inclusive of people who have visual, motor, auditory, speech, or cognitive disabilities. More than 61 million people in the United States (nearly 1 in 4) and over 1 billion people worldwide have one of these disabilities, including 46% of people aged 60 years and older.

In recognition of Digital Inclusion Week (Oct. 3-7) and October’s Health Literacy Month, the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) Foundation, the charitable affiliate of AHIMA, published an issue brief entitled, “The Critical Role of Web Accessibility in Health Information Access, Understanding, and Use,” with key insights from an audit of over 100 top U.S. hospital website home pages and a survey of older adults and patients with disabilities.

“Web inaccessibility prevents those that often need life-changing, life-saving healthcare from accessing it online wherever they live,” said Angela Thi Bennett, Director of Digital Equity, National Telecommunications and Information Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce. “The Digital Equity Act programs will empower Americans with disabilities to independently navigate digital healthcare systems and utilize websites that are designed to respond to their needs.”

Key findings of the AHIMA Foundation brief include:

  • Hospitals and health care systems in the U.S. need continuing education on the role of web accessibility in ADA compliance given the significance of newly issued federal guidance.
  • The home pages of most top U.S. hospitals have many accessibility errors and are not compliant with WCAG 2.1 criteria.
  • Older adults and patients with disabilities face barriers to accessing their health information electronically; many have…

Read on GNW: Web Accessibility Critical for Health Information Access

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