Despite the healthcare industry’s primary role to help the sick and people with disabilities, it’s interesting how some of their most prominent players are still caught violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
This bit is crucial because the ADA is all about providing Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) equal opportunities to access public services like everyone else — whether in physical facilities or online.
That means, if a fully-abled person can navigate a website easily, the PWDs should also be able to do the same.
When a healthcare website isn’t ADA-compliant, that means their PWD web users will struggle with simple tasks such as:
- booking appointments
- inquiring about the healthcare company’s services
- obtaining insurance information as it relates to their disabilities
- finding doctors affiliated with the healthcare institution
- finding prescription drugs
These tasks are important to a PWDs’ welfare — life-changing, even. Getting robbed of these services can be devastatingly detrimental to them and their loved ones.
Sadly, many healthcare companies, though, struggle with making their website ADA-compliant.
What Happens to Non-Compliant Healthcare Institutions
The consequences of not complying with the ADA can be quite catastrophic — more so for the healthcare companies since they are expected to be at the forefront of helping sick people and those with disabilities.
You fail to service your PWD customers
When your healthcare company’s website doesn’t comply with the ADA, you fail to serve your PWD customers effectively — who are among your main clientele. It’s also worth pointing out that there are around 25 million of them in the US alone.
When PWDS can’t access your website, they can’t procure your products, services, and other privileges, especially if they’re only available online.
When you think about the everyday struggles that PWDs experience due to their disability, it’s only right for everyone (the healthcare companies, included) to make their assets easily accessible to PWDs.
You get sued
Non-compliant websites can face lawsuits and fines of up to 150,000 dollars, depending on the severity of the offense.
If you think you can somehow be exempt from the lawsuits, you might want to think again.
Practically any kind of website falls under “public accommodation” stated in the ADA and can, therefore, cause the owner of the website to be sued if proven to have violated the law.
Even Nike, Netflix, Burger King, Fox News Network, Beyoncé’, Pharrell Williams, universities, local government agencies, and many other industries have been slapped with ADA compliance lawsuits.
In the healthcare sector, Wellpoint, Inc., CAC Florida Medical Centers, Tenet Healthcare, CVS Pharmacy, and HCA Holdings, Inc. were among those that disabled users sued for having inaccessible sites.
You hurt your brand image
When you receive ADA lawsuits and related complaints and penalties against your website, you can hurt your brand image.
People who hear of that news, including PWD users, may find your site discriminatory, exclusive, and less trustworthy, leading to a negative impression of your healthcare company.
Consequently, they might spread and put in a bad word to their friends and family, possibly impacting your customer loyalty, client acquisition, partnership opportunities, and even your revenue.
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