The Critical Role of Web Accessibility in Health Information Access, Understanding, and Use

Older adults and people with disabilities cannot equitably access the same health information and care as people without disabilities when hospital websites are not accessible. The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) found the following key insights relating to digital accessibility and its importance to older Americans:

  • Hospitals and health care systems in the U.S. need continuing education on the role of web accessibility in American Disability Act (ADA) compliance given the significance of newly issued federal guidance.

  • The home pages of most top U.S. hospitals have many accessibility errors and are not compliant with current Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) criteria.

  • Older adults and patients with disabilities face barriers to accessing their health information electronically; many have struggled to use a hospital website or patient portal.

  • Multisectoral collaboration, including user-based testing with patients with disabilities and older adults, is needed to improve digital accessibility in the healthcare ecosystem.

Ultimately, AHIMA believes it is imperative that all health care organizations consider the broad diversity of users’ functional needs when developing and maintaining digital media.

Web Accessibility Critical for Health Information Access