Healthcare organizations that use photocopying to enlarge regular print documents, patient information forms, and medical statements or paperwork are doing themselves and their patients with low vision a disservice. Photocopying regular print documents does not produce good quality, accessible medical information for the rapidly growing number of aging patients with low vision.
Family members and close friends of individuals with low vision prefer to patronize hospitals and healthcare clinics that prioritize inclusivity and accessibility for patients with disabilities as standard operating procedure. As the number of patients with disabilities such as blindness or low vision grows, this will become increasingly important for hospitals and clinics to put time and resources into in order to accommodate aging patients and comply with accessibility laws.
Why Are Large Print Accessible Medical Documents Important?
Today there are about 60 million Americans who are over the age of 65. By 2050 it is estimated that one-fifth of the U.S. population will be over the age of 65; that is roughly 90 million Americans. Because of longer life expectancies, it is reasonable to expect that the number of older individuals with low vision will continue to increase.
With the growing number of seniors in our country, the need for accessible medical information and documentation will rise. The loss of physical and sensory abilities in aging individuals will continue to challenge hospitals and healthcare clinics to focus on the accessibility of their physical documents as well as their websites.
Why Photocopying Does Not Satisfy Accessibility Laws
Photocopy enlargements of regular print documents result in low contrast and poor print quality and readability. Additionally, photocopy enlargements do not conform to ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliance guidelines for information accessibility. Photocopying does not adhere to the large print standards for accessibility, which include uniform font size and style, high contrast, compatibility with assistive technologies, and guidelines for formatting and layout.
Large print documents do not mean documents on large pieces of paper. This is another reason why photocopy enlargements are not considered accessible documents. Large print documents should be on 8.5×11 paper as this size is needed to utilize assistive technologies such as magnifiers, CCTV, etc.
How to Remain Compliant
The ADA requires doctors and medical facilities, financial institutions, accountants, lawyers, and other businesses to provide auxiliary aids and services that are necessary for effective communication. In the case of individuals who are blind or who have low vision, auxiliary aids include assistance in filling out forms, qualified readers, and written materials provided in alternate formats, such as large print, braille, audio recordings, or accessible electronic formats such as e-text.
T-Base has developed and refined its production of large format documents due to direct consultations with large print users and the leading low vision organizations that represent them. Over many years of development and refinement, T-Base has incorporated this valuable feedback on usability and readability preferences for large print. Contact T-Base to learn more about large print document production.