WebAIM - Web Accessibility In Mind

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Re: Health care accessibility


From: Emily Ogle
Date: May 25, 2018 3:56PM

I should note that health care software doesn't really live on the web much. You have portals and the like where patients can request appointments or message their doctors, but the software within the hospitals are not really websites.

The challenges I've had is that there is so much integration of legacy software with newer, better software. The legacy software seems difficult to make accessible, mainly because there are so many elements. (Aside from the whole "accessibility is easier when built in from the beginning" mantra.)
The automated checkers such as WAVE are for the most part web-only. So if we have desktop software, checking semantic structure becomes much more difficult, adding to the complexity of trying to get these legacy software more usable. With the adoption of Section 508, some criteria don't seem to apply, such as Meaningful Sequence, which largely seems to be checking that understandable structure is intact regardless of styling. We don't really have a way to check "DOM" order in a win-32 environment.
Security is another, but completely understandable, wrench. We have to protect patient information, so we access the software securely--but this poses difficulties integrating with JAWS or speech input. It also creates a disconnect between the development environment and the actual interface. Again, this makes logistical sense, given engineers and developers don't need access to patient information.
As Diane mentioned, there just seems to be very little knowledge of accessibility. For example, I'm literally the only person here specifically for accessibility. With everyone else, it's tangential or a percentage of their job, but not 100%.

On Friday, May 25, 2018, 12:26:21 PM CDT, glen walker < <EMAIL REMOVED> > wrote:

A few brief comments.

Emily - Do you see problems in health care websites any different than
other websites?  Are there challenges unique to the health care industry?
I would think health care would have the same semantic problems as any
other site.

Ryan - I worked for SAS for 30 years, and while it can be challenging to
learn how to program in SAS to crunch numbers, the output generated from
SAS is extremely accessible.  If you generate html or pdf output, it is
semantically tagged.  I specifically worked on this project.

Diane - While it might feel surprising that health care professionals might
not know about accessible website practices, after all, they have to
medically work with individuals with disabilities, right?  I wouldn't be
too hard on them.  The accessibility field, especially with regards to web
content, is still newish to the general population, even if we've been
working in the area for a decade or two.  Even if they were clueless, I
think it's a win if they were willing to be educated.  Heck, I've been
working in this area a long time and every time I learn something new, I
feel like I was clueless.