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.
Feasible ADA-Compliance Solution
As such, to comply with the requirements of the ADA, healthcare website owners began making the necessary adjustments through manual redesign and plugins.
The problem is that manual redesign, for one, can take thousands of dollars and around six to 10 months, depending on how huge and complex the website is.
Plus, when your site updates, you can lose all (or some) of the codes and other changes you made to be ADA-compliant — which then creates compliance gaps.
On the other hand, using plugins can pose all sorts of problems for your site. For starters, accessibility plugins have an abysmal success rate. It only takes care of 5% – 20% of the requirements.
You may also need to install a plethora of the plugins to adjust various features on your site, like accessible rich internet application (ARIA) attributes, headers, and others.
Too many plugins, however, can slow down your site speed.
Moreover, some plugins don’t fully and automatically modify your site to become ADA-compliant. You still have to code the remaining necessary aspects yourself.
Some accessibility plugins can even harm your site as they can cull out user information, statistics, and other data.
Hence, both the manual redesigning and misleading plugins are unreliable, not to mention costly.
So far, though, the one solution that is proving to be effective and dependable is accessiBe.
What makes accessiBe different when it comes to helping you with your ADA compliance is it’s automated, and it’s powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI).
It’s the first web accessibility platform that’s automated, let alone AI-powered. Both attributes help you streamline site adjustments swiftly and painlessly, without wrecking your site’s branding, performance, and others.
According to accessiBe’s CEO and Co-Founder Shir Ekerling, “We advocate the cause of people with disabilities and healthcare institutions. We believe that the former should be able to access websites easily, and the latter shouldn’t be financially burdened to cater to their customers with disabilities. That is why we created accessiBe, an automated and AI-powered web accessibility solutions.”
The AI behind accessiBe scans your site, understands how it works and performs different tasks, and studies the modifications necessary for ADA compliance.
It automatically fills addresses your requirement gaps and customization needs within 48 hours, and then re-scans every 24 hours to process new and revised content.
In this way, you are assured that your site adheres to the ADA requirements all the time.
On your disabled users’ end, accessiBe enables your site to be fully customizable the way they want it to be and gain better control of the elements they want to adjust according to their needs.
They only need to click the International Symbol of Access icon to begin customizing your site.
Here’s how they can adjust your site’s interface:
accessiBe lets them adjust word spacing and font sizes and styles, emphasize titles and links, magnify text, and realign text, etc.
Using the Dexcel Pharma website as an example, I increased the font size by 120 percent, word spacing by 40 percent, and opted for a more readable font and link emphasis.
The page then looked like this:
The site adopted font styles that are broader and less distracting. accessiBe also placed orange-bordered boxes around links so your disabled users can identify them immediately.
Aside from your content, accessiBe lets you set your desired color and display and navigation options, search an online dictionary, change languages, print quickly, stop animations, open a virtual keyboard, and others.
accessiBe also saves the changes that your users made on your site through their browser’s cookies.
With these features, your site becomes PWD-friendly. The best part is, accessiBe’s starting fee is only $490/year.
Why ADA-Compliance Shouldn’t be a Problem
A lot of healthcare companies are struggling with ADA compliance simply because they aren’t aware that there is an easier, affordable, and a more reliable solution.
With the help of AI-powered technologies like accessiBe, you can ensure that every element in your site is PWD-friendly at all times.
The best part is, you don’t even need to spend thousands to avoid the hefty ADA lawsuits and its other damaging effects.
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