Springfield, MA –  The National Federation for the Blind has filed a lawsuit against the US Department of Health and Human Services’ sub-agency, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which is the largest single payor for health care in the United States. The lawsuit states that CMS uses print and electronic formats that are inaccessible to those with vision impairment and blindness, and has failed to revamp their tools to address past complaints. As a result of this practice, people that are visually-impaired are at a greater risk for loss of their benefits and possible disruption of their care.

Why it matters:

This lawsuit serves to remind us all, that despite all sorts of advancements in communication technology, making sure that critical information is accessible to all is still a major issue (even for giant health-minded organizations like the DHHS). In the healthcare space this issue is especially important to consider, as the successful transfer of information, tools, and resources can be directly linked to a person’s success (or failure) on a treatment.

In addition to addressing the usability needs of people with a specific physical disability (such as impaired vision or hearing), we must also be considering a more fundamental access issue that a startling number of people face today–digital exclusion. Globally, there are millions of people that lack the basic online skills needed to access and engage with digital resources, and often these people are the ones that desperately need it most. In this age of “digital first” marketing, it is vital that we remember to find ways to help bridge the technology and access gaps that exist.

For more details on the National Federation for the Blind’s lawsuit click here, and to read deeper into the digital exclusion phenomenon and what some brands are doing to address it, download our 2016 Digital Trends Report.

About the Author:

Jeffrey Giermek