Kiosk Accessibility Patient Kiosks

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Read full article at Paciello Group March 2020

Healthcare kiosks are, now more than ever, a valuable tool for serving more patients without the need for up close staff interaction. They can be used for checking in patients and gathering symptom information for efficient triage purposes. They can also be used to measure patient blood pressure or heart rate, temperature, and other diagnostic information. Moreover, healthcare kiosks are also helpful for educating patients, collecting health insurance information, and scheduling future services.

Making a healthcare kiosk accessible not only improves patient care, but is required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities regarding public accommodations and the court has defined public accommodation to include (in title III) service establishments including healthcare facilities.

Creating an accessible healthcare kiosk

Disabilities, according to the ADA, can be physical (motor skills), cognitive (intellectual), low to no vision, low to no hearing, and more. But before addressing software accessibility, the first step to creating an accessible healthcare kiosk should be to make the kiosk physically accessible. The ability to access the kiosk by users in a wheelchair is required by the ADA.  It outlines specific compliance guidelines like the height of operable parts, the viewing angle, and the approach area for accessing the kiosk — which must also be accessible via a wheelchair. The approach area requires a clear path without stairs, uneven flooring, or objects to obstruct access.

Once physical accessibility has been established, turn your attention to another an equally important component: software. The kiosk application must also be accessible for use by someone who is blind or has low vision. The kiosk needs to have a screen reader, such as JAWS® for kiosk to turn text to speech. Some examples of accessible kiosks can be found in this video.

Touchscreens may be difficult for people with disabilities, so an external input/navigation device is also useful to allow users to engage with a kiosk without using a touchscreen.  The kiosk application must be developed to ensure it can be easily navigated and understood when read through a screen reader. WCAG 2.1 AA standards are application and website guidelines for accessibility. Following those guidelines with a healthcare check-in app, for instance, will make it easier for a blind or low vision user to understand and navigate the kiosk app. Learn more about selecting the right input device for your accessible kiosk.

Some things to consider when planning your accessible healthcare kiosk

  1. What application will you be using? Is it already accessible? If yes, can you improve usability for kiosk users?
  2. Is the kiosk hardware ADA compliant for height and reach specifications?
  3. Does the kiosk include an input device that has an audio jack? Oftentimes, there is no effect on audio jacks built in audio jacks when headphones are inserted. Using an input device that includes an audio jack will allow JAWS to turn off and on based on the presence of the headphones.
  4. Are you providing all information in a way that is accessible to all users, including those who are deaf or hard of hearing, and those who are blind or who have low vision? That includes any PDFs that are being read on the screen, videos in need of captioning, and document signing for HIPAA compliance.
  5. Are you protecting user privacy at every turn?

Read full article at Paciello Group March 2020