Blind advocacy group sues Epic, again

The National Federation of the Blind refiled a complaint against EHR vendor Epic. The organization previously claimed  the company's software isn't suitable for blind and low-vision users, according to the Politico Morning eHealth newsletter.

The NFB filed the lawsuit in December 2018 in Massachusetts under the state's disability law. The NFB alleged that blind individuals are limited from taking jobs in healthcare because EHRs aren't easily accessible to them. Epic responded that the NFB had a lack of standing because there was no individual who could be proved to have been harmed by the software.

In the NFB's new compliant, the organization claims Manuel Morse, a hospital dispatcher at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, was harmed by Epic's software. Mr. Morse filed a lawsuit in 2017 after an earlier version of Epic's software failed to interoperate with the text-to-speech software. The case was ultimately settled.

After an October 2018 system update, the link between the EHR and Mr. Morse's text-to-speech software broke. In the complaint, the NFB alleges, the software update slowed Mr. Morse down while Brigham and Women's Hospital attempted to repair it.

Additionally, in the complaint, the NFB cites unnamed blind healthcare applicants and employees who have been affected by Epic's software.

An Epic spokesperson told Becker’s Hospital Review in an emailed statement March 5, “We value, respect and support our customers’ employees who use screen readers and other assistive technologies with Epic and other vendor software to do their jobs every day.  We assist our customers as they tailor specific workflows and utilize assistive technologies to support their employees with disabilities. We also design, develop, and test end user-facing functionality released in our web-based platform using web content accessibility guidelines standards.”

More articles on EHRs:
16 hospitals, health systems seeking Allscripts, Cerner, Epic, Meditech talent
Kaleida Health rolls out 1st features of new $125M Cerner EHR
VA officials defend pace of progress on $16B Cerner EHR conversion

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