A business’s IT department must design its corporate website so that those who are disabled can access it easily. An ADA compliant website offers an online experience that is accessible to ALL users, including those with disabilities. Oftentimes that means your healthcare website should accommodate people with a visual disability, creating web pages and content that are suitable for screen-readers. More importantly, the entire site should be accessible via a keyboard.
The Ultimate Guide to Website, ADA Compliance by Digital Authority Partners, compliance with website accessibility regulations is something that healthcare bosses should take to heart. They should think of it beyond simply being on the good side of the ADA. Sure, ADA non-compliance can come with far-reaching social and economic ramifications, but complying is also the right thing to do. Of course, there are myriad other reasons to ensure that your website is ADA compliant:
If you aren’t compliant, you risk losing contracts, funding, and assistance from municipal, local and federal government agencies. It’s good for your reputation and credibility as a healthcare facility. Needless to say, scrambling to fix your noncompliance when discovered can have an adverse effect on how patients and the general public perceive your business. You’ll lose customers with a disability, numbering more than 25 million in the US alone.
Staying one step ahead of compliance regulations will help you keep costly ADA lawsuits and possible decisions against your firm at bay.
ADA website accessibility lawsuits are at an all-time high and affect organizations from the entire industry spectrum. From Netflix and Amazon to Adidas and local government agencies, no one is immune to ADA lawsuits – and healthcare organizations are no different. Here are 4 healthcare companies that made headlines for flouting website accessibility regulations and therefore faced ADA lawsuits:
1. WellPoint, Inc.
Now called Anthem, WellPoint Health Networks Inc. was the name of the American health insurance company, a predecessor of Blue Cross of California, until 2014. The insurer was slapped with an ADA lawsuit by two visually impaired persons living in the state of California, Sam Chen and Steven Mendelsohn. The two were members of an affiliate company of WellPoint Health Networks Inc. called Anthem Blue Cross.
The duo informed WellPoint in 2011 about their difficulties accessing their main website. The good thing is that the insurer acted swiftly and entered into negotiations with them. Moreso, the company signed an agreement detailing how WellPoint planned to comply with WCAG 2.0.
2. HCA Holdings, Inc.
The chances are good that you’ve been to a healthcare facility operated by HCA Holdings. They have over 100 hospitals under their belt. Frazier, the plaintiff in this lawsuit is a legally blind American who uses a screen-reader to browse online. The plaintiff, through her disability lawyers, claimed that websites of some of the HCA-owned hospitals were riddled with accessibility issues such as lack of alt text for images and failing to support keyboard navigation. The case is still open.
3. Tenet Healthcare
The operator of several healthcare facilities, including Hahnemann University Hospital, Hialeah Hospital, and Coral Gables Hospital, Tenet Healthcare was named in a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of all Americans with visual impairment. The complaint argues that the healthcare company’s websites aren’t accessible via screen-readers, and therefore violate the Rehabilitation Act Section 504 and Title III of the ADA.
From the gravity of these lawsuits, it’s apparent that ADA website compliance is something no healthcare executive should take lightly. To figure out whether a company’s website is truly ADA compliant, healthcare companies should carry out thorough, site-wide inspections employing a combination of automated and manual testing.