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4 More Ways to Improve Digital Accessibility in Healthcare

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Digital accessibility is a critical component of a healthcare and life sciences organization’s digital health strategy, meaningfully impacting the patient and member experiences and truly differentiating the organization’s digital footprint.
In my previous post, I outlined four steps that will help your healthcare organization improve your digital accessibility. Picking up where I left off, here are four additional steps to help you get started on the path to a truly accessible healthcare experience.

5. Align your organization – roles and responsibilities

Progressive organizations have a central digital accessibility group to manage the program for the entire organization, and this group has senior leadership within the digital area. Alongside that central function there are distributed accessibility operations — individuals in various roles who are tasked with accomplishing the digital accessibility program’s goals.
Some typical roles you’ll see include:

  • Chief Accessibility Officer
  • Legal and/or Compliance Officer
  • Program Manager
  • Subject Matter Expert
  • User Experience (UX) and Design Lead
  • Technical Lead
  • Customer Support Admin
  • Content Developer
  • User Researcher

6. Integrate Digital Accessibility into Policy and Standards

To start, you should plan to integrate digital accessibility policy and standards into your existing digital frameworks and methodologies. This ensures that your digital environment is both usable and works well for your primary audiences (e.g., prospective and current patients, caregivers, medical researchers, career seekers and the like).

7. Define, Execute, and Monitor Accessibility Standards

Following this, you should define accessibility requirements (a.k.a., compliance standards); these are those design/functional, technical, and content areas of all digital resources which affect healthcare consumers and their digital experiences. These requirements should align to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), commonly called “ADA compliance.”
Finally, once those decisions are in place, it’s a matter of executing digital accessibility requirements, along with managing and monitoring accessibility over time – to quantify and improve digital performance for your connected consumers. It’s important to review your maturity level periodically, to gauge what’s working well and identify areas of the digital environment that are problematic so that both new and recurring issues can be resolved.

8. Add Digital Accessibility to Your Roadmaps

One last consideration to keep in mind: digital environments are constantly changing. For instance, as content is added to and removed from your websites and mobile app, the performance of specific pages or content areas will change. And, the same goes for team members; they too join and leave. Intelligent organizations plan for this. They include digital accessibility in their digital roadmaps, and in how they prepare team members to stay on top of changes, such as adopting the updated WCAG 2.1 standards, which largely address the mobile user experience.
For more information about how to improve digital accessibility in your healthcare or life sciences organization, download our guide, Enhance the Digital Health Experience with Digital Accessibility.

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Lisa McMichael

Lisa McMichael is a Senior Manager Digital Accessibility, CPACC with the Detroit Business Unit.

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