Section 508 of The Rehabilitation Act has made it mandatory for all healthcare agencies to make all of their electronic information and technology fully accessible by people with various disabilities. This means that websites, software, webinars and PDF user guides, provider directories, formularies to name a few examples, have to meet specific section 508 and HHS(2018) accessibility requirements to comply with the law.
Other than section 508, there are at least two more reasons healthcare institutions should care about their digital accessibility: They are Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act and Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Just like Section 508, these are both laws meant to protect people from discrimination.
So, by now it is clear that for legal reasons it is best to keep your PDFs and other electronic documents accessible because no healthcare provider wants to risk financial penalties, loss of government funding, or a class-action lawsuit.
But, there are more reasons for making your documents Section 508 compliant. Some of them are:
- People with disabilities represent more than a quarter (26.7%) of all health care spending in the U.S. It means leaving behind them can result in huge loss of potential business.
- People with disabilities have much higher healthcare needs compared to an average person with no disability.
- Keeping yourself compliant with accessibility guidelines boosts your brand image
There are many reasons why any organization feel reluctant to get their documents get 508 complaint. Some of the reasons and their solutions are listed below:
1. Additional Cost
Remediation is labor-intensive and time consuming work therefore vendors take handsome price for making your documents accessible. In many countries due to higher labour cost the cost further increases.
Solution: One of the best way to reduce your cost on remediation and accessibility is to outsource your projects to the countries which have lower labour cost. The one country which stands out is India. India is the favourite destination of outsourcing IT projects for many countries. We at Tech4Planet also provide quality remediation service at an affordable price. You can contact us for your accessibility requirements at [email protected] or click here to fill the contact form.
2. Finding Right Vendor
Finding the right vendor is a complicated task for many organizations that are not experts in document accessibility standards and testing. Most vendors will just jargons like WCGA 2.1, Section 508, ADA to convince you that they have the competence.
One way to find the capabilities of the vendors is to give them with a sample document of 8-10 pages that contains all the elements which your original document contains. Ask the vendor to send the remediated document along with the compliance report. You can then compare them with other vendors and chose the best one for you.
3. Which Documents Should be Made Accessible?
Every document which are useful for the customers should be remediated to make it accessible and section 508 compliant. The common documents which are required to be remediated are:
- Directories (Provider Directories, Pharmacy Directory, Doctor’s Directory etc.)
- Brochures & Handbooks
- Summary of Benefits