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Medical Practices Beware of Potential Lawsuits

Whether your website has been neglected or if it’s a top priority that you put time, budget, and effort towards, you may have overlooked one major factor – website accessibility. In recent years, analysts have warned businesses against ADA lawsuits. Today, some have even targeted medical groups because their websites are not accessible to people with disabilities. Learn more about what you can do to keep your site compliant.

woman using ipadInstead of asking for compliance, they sue

Some say lawyers are taking advantage of businesses that don’t realize they are doing anything wrong. Instead of reaching out to the businesses and asking for compliance, they sue.

Critics call it “legal extortion,” and the numbers are on the rise.

According to UseableNet, in the end-of-the-year report, ADA digital accessibility lawsuits rose to 10 a day. In 2018, there were 2,285 ADA website lawsuits filed in federal courts across the nation, an increase of 181 percent from 2017.

Most businesses faced with this type of lawsuit settle the case for attorney fees and compliance rather than litigation. Suits have sought after big-name companies as well as small businesses.

Healthcare is a targeted industry

According to AccessiBe, accessibility compliance has also become a major incentive for lawsuits targeting the healthcare industry.

“This should come as no surprise. Many people with disabilities are coping with medical conditions that prompt them to seek healthcare providers. The sites of providers are most likely to be visited by people with disabilities, making them redundant if they are inaccessible.”

Accessibility compliance in healthcare

Under ACA’s Section 1557, most healthcare organizations are now required to address the accessibility of their digital communications.

Specifically, all healthcare organizations that receive funds from the federal government also need to comply with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 AA for their websites, electronic documents, and software.

Take a closer look at your website

Healthcare groups and business owners should take a serious look at their websites and make sure that a person with visual or hearing disabilities can use their site.

Some general suggestions include:

  • Content must be coded for audio translation by screen-reader software
  • There must be on-screen captions in videos for screen-reader software to read to the blind and descriptions for the deaf
  • Sites must include accessible drop-down menus for those who use a keyboard as an alternative to a mouse
  • When images are used, add alt text to describe them
  • There is good contrast

For more suggestions, take a look at what you can do to make your website more accessible.

Practis is here to help

We recommend practices make sure their websites comply with the law. At Practis, we offer a program that specializes in website accessibility and can help you out.