Digital Accessibility: How Smaller Healthcare Companies Can Remain Competitive with Industry Giants

As the world of healthcare shifts with new technological innovations, regulations, and impactful environmental factors, large and small companies alike are affected. In response, we see emerging trends among large healthcare companies that trickle down the ladder to small and medium-sized companies – not only in the name of compliance but to remain competitive and grow their market footprint.

One of these emerging trends is within digital accessibility, and the impact large companies have on smaller ones to make sure their digital assets are accessible.

Digital Accessibility and Large Healthcare Companies

When it comes to digital accessibility, large companies have laid the foundation for meticulous practices. This is mostly due to the increasingly competitive market in the healthcare space, and the need to not only remain compliant but to provide the best user experience for their customers. Increasing digital accessibility, while having the bottom line of creating a better customer experience, also ensures they are preventing any legal litigation or bad publicity.

Outside of the ways in which digital accessibility benefits the healthcare organization itself is the fact that it helps accommodate the increase in registered disabilities in the U.S. According to the CDC, 1 in 4 people are living with a disability, about 27% of Americans– a number that has been steadily rising in recent years.

Because of the above factors, industry leaders such as Aetna are spearheading the trend of making their digital properties accessible for all – creating a systemic effect on the smaller healthcare companies to do the same.

How Smaller Healthcare Companies Are Affected

While smaller companies aren’t necessarily competing with larger ones, they are competing to partner with healthcare industry giants. However, as digital accessibility becomes more prevalent, so too, does it become a deterring factor if a smaller company’s digital accessibility and compliance don’t align with theirs.

In fact, leading healthcare giants often have their own strict written code for web content accessibility. The guidelines they expect their partners to uphold are in place to make their web content more accessible to people with disabilities such as blindness and low vision, deafness and hearing loss, learning disabilities, cognitive limitations, limited movement, speech disabilities, photosensitivity, or others.

Why Smaller Companies Have to Keep Up

The pressure to become more digitally accessible is heightened for smaller healthcare companies who offer Medicare, Medicaid, or are a medical technology company whose primary customers are universities and the government.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), who manage the federal Medicare and Medicaid health insurance programs require their partners who offer Medicare and Medicaid to maintain compliance with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. Section 508, which was refreshed recently in 2018, requires government websites to meet the World Wide Web Consortium’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Level AA standards – a broadly-used industry standard for digital accessibility.

Although larger healthcare companies want to remain competitive among other industry giants, the cause for the shift is mostly due to the fact that every major healthcare company is affected by Medicare and Medicaid– including major medical technology and pharmaceutical companies. Therefore, the pressure to become digitally accessible has trickled down from the top and affects everyone.

Key Takeaways

In order to partner with larger organizations, remain compliant, maintain customer satisfaction, and offer critical programs such as Medicare, you’ll have to become more digitally accessible.

Becoming more accessible via digital channels is easier than you might think. Because of the emerging trends in the healthcare digital accessibility space, support systems and emerging entities are springing up to help.

Level Access is your complete solution to making your healthcare company more digitally accessible, so you can drive growth and scale your business. Our ultimate goal is to create a world where digital systems can be made readily accessible to users with disabilities—enabling digital technology to become a profound empowering force in their lives. Through this mission, we not only help you gain the compliance you need to make strategic partnerships, but we make the world of healthcare more accessible to those who need it most.