508/WCAG 2.0 Compliance: Making healthcare information accessible in any language

Compliance is often a grey area and many times government agencies can get lost in the various challenges when creating their own Section 508 program. The Government sets specific standards, however the guidelines are not always clear.

Section 508 has been in effect for over a decade. The law requires government agencies to procure, develop, and maintain electronic and information technology to provide the same level of access to everyone including those with physical challenges.

There are six product categories in the law that have set specific technical standards:

  • Software applications and operating systems
  • Telecommunications products
  • Web-based information and applications
  • Video and multimedia products
  • Self-contained, closed products
  • Desktop and portable computers

Who does Section 508 affect?

Everyone facing a disability has the right to information they need specifically from government agencies so the government is held accountable to provide the resources in accessible formats. Approximately 56.7 million people have a disability in America today. That is about 19% of the population or about 1 in 5 people.

Age Group Some Limitations Severe Limitations Total % of Age Group Part of Age Group
35 – 44 years 13.4% 11.0% 24.4% 1 out of 4
45 – 54 years 23.0% 13.0% 36.0% 1 out of 3
55 – 64 years 34.2% 16.0% 50.2% 1 out of 2
65 – 69 years 45.4% 18.5% 63.9% 2 out of 3
70 – 74 years 55.3% 22.0% 77.3% 3 out of 4

US population with disability

Important points to consider when planning a 508 program:

  • An EIT infrastructure that supports Sections 501 and 504 disability accommodations. Having a Section 508/WCAG 2.0 AA compliant infrastructure enables quicker and more efficient accessibility for those who are disabled.
  • Only federal agencies are legally accountable for compliance.
  • No matter what a contractor or vendor promises, the federal agency is still liable for compliance
  • Products or services can include standards in several categories (i.e. software)
  • All standards are considered to be of equal importance in order to be totally compliant

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