Blind advocacy group's lawsuit against Epic tossed by judge

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A federal judge on Jan. 31 dismissed the National Federation of the Blind's lawsuit against Epic, which claimed the EHR vendor's software isn't suitable for blind and low-vision users, according to the Feb. 3 Politico Morning eHealth newsletter.

The National Federation of the Blind filed the complaint last March; Epic filed a motion to dismiss the complaint a month later, claiming the lawsuit had no legal standing. Epic argued that its software may slow down blind hospital workers, but it does not prevent them from doing their jobs.

In the March 2019 complaint, NFB claimed Manuel Morse, a hospital dispatcher at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, allegedly had to slow down his work after an October 2018 software update broke the link between the EHR and the hospital's text-to-speech feature.

The March complaint was the second iteration of a lawsuit filed against the EHR vendor in December 2018. In the original lawsuit, NFB claimed Epic and other EHR vendors' software isn't accessible to blind and low-vision users, which limits job prospects. Epic disputed the claim because the lawsuit didn't name an individual who was harmed by the software.

An Epic executive said that upgrading the EHR systems to NFB's specification "would've taken 'thousands of person-hours,'" according to Politico.

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