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Thread: Health care accessibility

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Number of posts in this thread: 7 (In chronological order)

From: Emily Ogle
Date: Thu, May 24 2018 8:13PM
Subject: Health care accessibility
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Hello all,

It seems accessibility has a healthy presence and visibility in Education. We have conferences about making education in general more accessible. We have collaboration groups on how to make online courses accessible.

It seems health care isn’t there yet. Is it just my impression? There are plenty of health care-related conferences, but they don’t center around accessibility. At least not that I can tell.

Are there people on this mailing list tasked with making health IT accessible? Is there potential here to collaborate and get health care to the level education is? If I’m under the wrong impression re: health and accessibility, please—let me know where to turn to. In the meantime, I’d like to discuss some of the challenges around making health IT accessible.

Emily

From: Ryan E. Benson
Date: Fri, May 25 2018 6:20AM
Subject: Re: Health care accessibility
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Do you mean stuff at the doctor offices, equipment used in a lab setting,
or something else? I work in the IT side of public health. We strive to
make our stuff accessible. In the lab setting, while I am no expert, when
we ask to make stuff accessible to device manufacturers, they politely tell
us they're sticking their head in the sand. The problem is, that one
company is often the only company that makes that product. Data
Visualizations are a big thing these days. Up until a few years ago, health
care professionals were content on using behemoth products like SAS and
SPSS to crunch numbers, and spit out an answer with a chart. Now those same
people, and new ones, want the same details yesterday, without having to
know how to crunch those numbers. There are a handful of products that are
making progress, but the lately the answer is. yep use our cloud to get
accessible output, because we aren't working on the desktop version really.
When the data has PII, we can't just upload it to a public cloud.

/rant

--
Ryan E. Benson

On Thu, May 24, 2018 at 10:13 PM, Emily Ogle via WebAIM-Forum <
= EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = > wrote:

> Hello all,
>
> It seems accessibility has a healthy presence and visibility in Education.
> We have conferences about making education in general more accessible. We
> have collaboration groups on how to make online courses accessible.
>
> It seems health care isn’t there yet. Is it just my impression? There are
> plenty of health care-related conferences, but they don’t center around
> accessibility. At least not that I can tell.
>
> Are there people on this mailing list tasked with making health IT
> accessible? Is there potential here to collaborate and get health care to
> the level education is? If I’m under the wrong impression re: health and
> accessibility, please—let me know where to turn to. In the meantime, I’d
> like to discuss some of the challenges around making health IT accessible.
>
> Emily
> > > > >

From: Tomlins Diane
Date: Fri, May 25 2018 9:57AM
Subject: Re: Health care accessibility
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Emily:
>It seems health care isn’t there yet. Is it just my impression? There are plenty of health care-related conferences, but they don’t center around >accessibility. At least not that I can tell.

You are quite correct, it's not there yet. Healthcare websites and web-apps are generally not very accessible. I work for a large healthcare company, and we are working very diligently to make all of our digital spaces - websites, applications, communications, etc. more accessible and up to WCAG standards. I have checked out many, many healthcare websites and web apps for online scheduling, pre-registration, event/class registrations, and health portals, health risk assessments, most are sorely lacking in accessibility. We have vendors providing inaccessible content or services that link into our websites, and some of these companies have a fairly large presence in the healthcare space. I am still rather gob-smacked at their lack of accessibility awareness and knowledge. I once wrote up a 10 page evaluation of one of these vendor's applications (it was a hot mess) - and that was just the quick assessment version. The resulting conference call with them was more of an educational session, explaining accessibility, and why their application failed so spectacularly. It was rather shocking to me that they were so clueless, I kept saying to myself 'you are in the healthcare space, how do you NOT know any of this???'.

In my experience working to make OUR websites and web-based applications accessible, I found that the developers who created these apps knew nothing about accessibility, it was completely foreign to them. Fortunately, they have all been willing to learn and have embraced it, and projects are ongoing, but remediation of existing code takes a lot time and effort - and we have a lot of work yet to do, on top of new projects. Our web team was a little bit easier since I was part of that team for quite a while and I was always stressing it, talking about it, sharing code examples, methods, and articles.


Diane R Tomlins
HCA IT&S | Digital Media
Accessibility SME

From: glen walker
Date: Fri, May 25 2018 11:25AM
Subject: Re: Health care accessibility
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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.

Glen

From: Emily Ogle
Date: Fri, May 25 2018 3:56PM
Subject: Re: Health care accessibility
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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 ADDRESS 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.

Glen

From: Shane Anderson
Date: Mon, May 28 2018 5:04AM
Subject: Re: Health care accessibility
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I'm part of an accessibility team within the healthcare industry. We have
made great progress. However, there is a long way to go.

I've worked in accessibility off and on for 18 years. The perception of the
presence of accessibility in education may not be much more than
perception. While looking at universities for my daughter recently, I
noticed that there are still many bad websites in education (in the US
anyways. The Healthcare industry doesn't seem to be any better or worse
than any other industry when it comes to accessibility results. I would
agree that their efforts aren't as visible. but there are efforts underway.


Regards
Shane Anderson


On Thu, May 24, 2018 at 10:13 PM, Emily Ogle via WebAIM-Forum <
= EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = > wrote:

> Hello all,
>
> It seems accessibility has a healthy presence and visibility in Education.
> We have conferences about making education in general more accessible. We
> have collaboration groups on how to make online courses accessible.
>
> It seems health care isn’t there yet. Is it just my impression? There are
> plenty of health care-related conferences, but they don’t center around
> accessibility. At least not that I can tell.
>
> Are there people on this mailing list tasked with making health IT
> accessible? Is there potential here to collaborate and get health care to
> the level education is? If I’m under the wrong impression re: health and
> accessibility, please—let me know where to turn to. In the meantime, I’d
> like to discuss some of the challenges around making health IT accessible.
>
> Emily
> > > > >

From: Ryan E. Benson
Date: Sat, Jun 02 2018 8:57PM
Subject: Re: Health care accessibility
← Previous message | No next message

> 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.

Sorry for the delay. If SAS was used for everything my life would be a lot
easier. In my comment, I didn't mean SAS doesn't output good stuff, quite
the opposite. The issue is employees at my work no longer want to spend the
time/effort to do the task in SAS, so they turn to other tools.

--
Ryan E. Benson

On Fri, May 25, 2018 at 1:25 PM, glen walker < = EMAIL ADDRESS 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.
>
> Glen
> > > > >