Is Your EHR Ready For The ADA?

Alicia Gallegos | | April 1, 2013

Physicians risk lawsuits if they fail to make electronic resources accessible to disabled patients.

After twisting her ankle, Anne Taylor visited a Maryland health care clinic, where she was given a computer tablet and asked to fill out her medical history electronically. But Taylor could not perform the task. She is blind, and the tablet had no way of recording medical information without typing.

“Obviously, I couldn't do it, so I had to get help from the clerk,” said Taylor, director of Access Technology for the National Federation of the Blind in Maryland. “In a sense, I was giving my personal data to essentially a stranger. I didn't have any choice. I wanted to get my injury looked at.”

Such an experience is becoming more common for impaired patients as more medical practices move to electronic health records and electronic resources. Too often, health professionals do not consider whether disabled patients or employees are able to use electronic equipment such as EHRs, public websites and e-tools until a problem arises, legal experts say.