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Accessibility Compliance in the Healthcare Industry: Assessing Intrinsic and Extrinsic Risks

E Foley 01/16/18

With open enrollment in everyone’s recent past, it’s time to start thinking about a different kind of healthcare: your accessibility compliance health! In this series of articles, we’ll go into various topics you’ll want to be thinking about and advice you’ll want to implement in 2018 to ensure that your organization is in tip top shape and less likely to come down with a bad case of the lawsuits. (Ah-choo!)

When organizations contact us for help with digital accessibility, they often ask about their current level of risk. “What are the chances we’re going to get sued right now… and how much do we have to do to lower that risk?”

After two decades in the digital accessibility business, we have those answers. But first, let’s talk about bracelets.

Here’s Your Bracelet

In a hospital, certain patients are labeled a “Fall Risk” and given a bracelet to wear so others can recognize them as at-risk immediately. Some of the factors behind the fall risk label are previous falls, balance problems, and advanced age. But sometimes a patient without a fall risk bracelet will fall. And some organizations that think they’ve covered their bases as far as accessibility will be sued. Why?

Intrinsic Risk Factors

Some intrinsic risks are not immediately noticeable. A patient might have difficulty with depth perception and fall. Another might be fine one moment and have vertigo the next.

The risk factors for digital accessibility compliance can also slip your notice if you’re not careful. Without a robust QA process that includes user testing with assistive technology, accessibility violations can find their way into production, leaving your system at risk. If your team has a CI/CD practice, accessibility testing should be woven in to their everyday activities to catch accessibility bugs before they see the light of day.

Extrinsic Risk Factors

While hospitals try to mitigate extrinsic risk factors of falls, nobody’s perfect. Even something as mundane as a bit of spilled water can cause a serious fall.

Extrinsic risk factors for digital accessibility often come packaged with third-party code. Your email marketing program. Your website’s contact form. Content uploaded by other users of your system, for example, PDFs added to a reference area or articles published to your blog. These are just a few of the ways that accessibility violations—and with them, risk—find their way into your organization.

Request a Free Site CheckHow Do You Assess Accessibility Compliance Risk?

We’d be happy to scan your website and give you a snapshot of your overall compliance risk. No matter what your state of compliance, Level Access can give you a diagnosis of your current health and a plan to lower your risk of a lawsuit. Request a Free Site Check and Risk Assessment

Healthcare Friends – Access resources from our free webinar!

If you’re in the healthcare industry and want to learn more about accessibility compliance health, access the resources from our free, on-demand webinar, Accessibility Compliance Checkup for Healthcare Organizations.

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