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Electronic filing in healthcare may be violating the ADA

As innovations in technology move our society towards an ever digital existence, certain areas of industry are making the push faster than others. In businesses where information needs to be accessed immediately, such as with the healthcare industry, electronic records have become the way of the future. But what many healthcare facilities may not realize is that some forms of electronic submission may be violating the American's with Disabilities Act which can lead to rather tricky legal situations as a result.

For those companies who may not know, the Americans with Disabilities Act protects those who are disabled from suffering any form of discrimination or retaliation because of their impairment. But according to some patients at local hospitals and doctors' offices, this is exactly what's occurring, which is leaving healthcare facilities open to serious business litigation issues.

In one such complaint against a doctor's office, the patient was asked to fill out her medical history on a tablet device. But because the patient was blind, she was unable to fill in the information without the help of a receptionist at the office. As she described it, she felt like she was giving her information to a stranger, not to the hospital.

But experts point out that it may not be just patients who feel discriminated against but employees as well. By not adhering to the requirements of the ADA, employers can open themselves up to even more legal problems.

With everything becoming more technology based, companies need to make sure that they are offering alternatives to people with disabilities that would otherwise prevent them from access. Some legal observers say that if companies do not comply with this, they could open themselves up to unwanted lawsuits down the road.

Source: AmedNews.com, "Is your EHR ready for the ADA?," Alicia Gallegos, April 1, 2013

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