Accessibility in Healthcare Communications Is Vitally Important

by | Mar 18, 2021

Healthcare providers should review all patient communication to ensure accessibility

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), US healthcare providers must ensure that all their facilities and services are accessible to Persons with Disabilities (PWD).  And it’s true that the healthcare sector has put plenty of planning and resources into ensuring their physical premises cater for patients that may have a motor, cognitive, auditory or visual impairment.

However, the ADA also places obligation on healthcare organizations that communicate with patients in any way to ensure accessibility in healthcare communications. This extends to printed documents, online documents, communications via email or text, as well as anywhere a patient may interact, such as websites, portal and mobile apps.

Why accessibility in healthcare communications is also critically important

On the one hand, healthcare providers have a regulatory obligation to ensure that all patient interactions are accessible.  There are consequences for failing to meet accessibility standards, such as complaints to industry regulators or an ombudsman.

If a regulatory body finds that any organization has failed in the provision of accessible services or properties, it can impose sanctions. There are many lawsuits relating to online accessibility and this grows year on year.

According to official statistics, 26 percent (one in 4) adults in the United States have some type of disability.  That means one in 4 patients may be experiencing unnecessary barriers to accessing vital healthcare information.   

And elderly people (65+ years) make up almost three quarters of the total number of Americans with disabilities.  

The reality is, in addition to avoiding lawsuits and financial ramifications, providing accessible services and communications is both a commercial necessity and a business advantage.

Accessibility in customer communication management (CCM)

Recently, media attention has placed a spotlight on website compliance with accessibility regulations.  The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.1) were established to provide companies, including healthcare providers, with guidelines on how to ensure websites and portals are compliant.

However, it is not just a public website that must be accessible. When it comes to accessibility in CCM, healthcare providers must ensure that any communication, regardless of whether   it is physically delivered or emailed to customers, can be consumed by someone with an impairment.

What is accessibility in Customer Communications Management?

Accessibility in Customer Communications Management refers to how easily a recipient with a physical impairment or learning disability can access or consume information. Regardless of whether it is contained on an organization’s portal or web page; in an email or text; or in a document that is presented online.

There is a chance that healthcare providers have not paid enough attention to ensuring that all customer communication and digital properties across all customer journeys are accessible. This means that contrary to internal perceptions, the healthcare provider may not yet have achieved accessibility compliance.

The following customer touchpoints must also be reviewed:

  • Portal accessibility - patient portals that enable access to services, confidential information and regulated documents must adhere to the same accessibility standards as public websites.
  • Mobile app accessibility - information and services provided through a mobile application, such as authorizations and consents, must be accessible.
  • Email accessibility - transactional emails and campaigns must be designed and developed to be consumed through assistive technologies, such as screen readers and magnifiers. In addition, any custom landing pages that are linked from emails must also be checked for accessibility.
  • Form accessibility - forms that a patient is required to complete and submit online, for example, admission forms, must be accessible through a screen reader or other assistive technology.
  • Document accessibility - documents, such as patient statements and summary of benefits, that are emailed or made available online to view or download must be generated through a compliant document generation platform.

Doxim’s Accessible Document solution addresses this need.

For more information, download our Document Accessibility eBook for Healthcare  

Need help auditing your communications for accessibility?

To address the need for accessible communications, healthcare providers should look for a partner that understands accessibility requirements and can assist with relevant advice and expertise, as well as provide a CCM platform that can produce accessible communications on time and at scale for millions of recipients.

Doxim offers an all-in-one partnership to help healthcare providers review all patient communication to ensure compliance. SCHEDULE TIME TO CHAT WITH A DOXIM CCM SPECIALIST

3. Expansion of digital products

As banking customer behavior shifts, banks must move with the times, or risk getting left behind. Many banks today are exploring the power and potential of open banking, which can allow them to offer more innovative products and services to their customers, as well as to better compete with fintech companies and other non-traditional financial service providers.

As you shift your banking business model to reach new segments or provide an enhanced array of services, communication becomes even more pivotal to your success. After all, if your customers don’t know which new services they qualify for, or how those services will help them meet their goals, then they are unlikely to explore them further. CCM technology can be leveraged here to provide personalized on-statement messaging that directs customers to the right products and services, as well as 1:1 personalized “explainer” videos to help them get started.

Adjusting your bank’s priorities to thrive in 2023

In an era of constant change, the key to successfully transforming your bank’s business model will be to stay attuned to the changing needs and preferences of customers, and to be open to exploring new opportunities and technologies that can help your FI stay competitive and relevant. But these new opportunities are doomed to fail if you do not clearly communicate their benefits and make it simple for customers to access them.

That is why transforming your customer communication strategy is the best first step to broader digital transformation. By updating your approach to communications to meet omnichannel customer needs, you also position your bank to communicate the benefits of changes in your broader organization, like new or enhanced products and services. The pace of change in banking has never been brisker – but with the right strategic approach to these changes, the future is bright.

Investing in a modern customer communication management and engagement platform is an essential part modernizing your banking strategy, as it can provide the personalized digital experiences that will keep your bank or credit union ahead of the competition. It helps provide a great customer experience, and builds rich relationships, which in turn results in customers for life and a competitive advantage in the rapidly evolving financial marketplace.

How Doxim can address the banking customer communications trends identified and help future-proof your digital banking strategy

banking customer communications trends

Doxim’s experienced consultants and omnichannel platform can help transform your customer experience in many ways, including:

  • Gathering and utilizing customer data to continually improve the personalization of communications.
  • Building trust with customers via communication (via print, PDF, HTML, email, text, and online interactive experiences).
  • Leveraging interactive video to drive personalized digital customer experiences, such as interactive statements, bills, or reports, that offer visual engagement and real-time interactivity
  • Putting customer data, including customer statements, at the fingertips of your service representatives for immediate and personal service.
  • Making a meaningful connection with value-added content, like information about philanthropic activities, on customer statements.

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