Digital health equity: Harnessing design systems to advance EHR accessibility

July 9, 2024 |  Government Regulations, Industry Leaders, C-level, Health IT, Social Determinants

Digital health equity: Harnessing design systems to advance EHR accessibility

Digital-Health-Equity-Harnessing-Design-Systems-to-Advance EHR-Accessibility--blogFor many, the pandemic shed light on issues related to web accessibility. Ninety percent of US adults said the internet was “essential” during the pandemic yet many people with disabilities were at a disadvantage; unable to schedule vaccines, communicate with their providers, and schedule appointments. Since then, web accessibility has become a high-priority social determinant of health (SDOH) – and a fundamental human right.  

Declared a human right by the United Nations in 2016, the critical importance of web access was further codified in April 2024 when the United States recognized digital accessibility as a civil right with an update to Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In May 2024, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) subsequently finalized revisions to regulations implementing Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which protects against discrimination on the basis of disability. This final rule provides protections for people with disabilities who seek services from federally funded health and human services programs. 

These actions were important steps to ensure those with disabilities have equal access to digital web content and mobile applications.

This post originally appeared on the EHRA blog, click here to read the full post.

Written by Jennifer Sagerian, MEDITECH, Member, EHR Association User Experience Workgroup

Jennifer Sagerian is passionate about healthcare and improving the user experience by helping to create intuitive, efficient, and inclusive EHR products. She is a manager of User Experience and the Product Owner for the Design System at MEDITECH. Jennifer is also MEDITECH's Accessibility Program Lead, committed to ensuring that everything MEDITECH creates can be used by people with disabilities.