During the Covid-19 pandemic, the use of telehealth services has increased substantially in many countries, becoming a basic need for the general population. However, many persons with disabilities experience difficulties and challenges accessing and using telehealth services. For example, very often telehealth platforms are not compatible with devices such as screen readers that facilitate people with vision impairment to access information, or the lack of captioning or volume control in video conferencing impedes persons who are deaf or hard of hearing to interact with health professionals virtually.
To address this, the World Health Organization and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) developed jointly a global standard for accessibility of telehealth services. This standard provides a list of technical requirements that telehealth platforms must have to ensure accessible telehealth service provision. All requirements are based on the best available evidence, as well as the comprehensive feedback and input collected from civil society and the industry. The requirements are intended for adoption by Member States as regulations or legislation and should also be voluntarily implemented by healthcare professionals and manufacturers.
WHO Headquarters in Geneva
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