Persons with disabilities often encounter obstacles at doctors’ offices and sometimes even barriers in hospitals they cannot overcome. Accordingly, they do not have equal access to medical care. In order to improve their situation, the Public Health Foundation is involved in various projects, working closely with the Support Association and other partners.
The Support Association’s Dedication to Accessibility
It is one of the Public Health Foundation Support Association’s statutory objectives to promote institutions and information services which benefit people with disabilities and provide them with better access to medical care. Therefore, projects concerned with accessibility generally lie in the hands of the Support Association.
Project „Accessible Practice“
The project “Accessible Practice” provides patients all over Germany with information on the level of accessibility of doctors’ offices. People with disabilities are thus able to find a doctor whose practice meets their accessibility requirements. Aspects of accessibility include, for example, handicapped parking, adjustable examination tables and the availability of interpreters trained in sign language.
Project “Practice-Tool for more Accessibility” („Praxis-Tool Barrierefreiheit”)
The project “Practice-Tool for more Accessibility” facilitates equal access to outpatient medical care for patients with disabilities. Together with the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and other partners in healthcare policy and business, the Public Health Foundation Support Association is establishing a web-based information system – the Practice-Tool for more Accessibility. The system targets physicians, architects and builders involved in planning a new practice or renovating an existing one. It is designed to enable these professionals to more readily eliminate obstacles and barriers affecting persons with disabilities. The interactive interface of the tool provides users with solutions which reflect their individual needs and circumstances. Thus, doctors’ offices can implement accessibility features from the very beginning, thereby avoiding expensive revisions later on while broadening their potential patient base.
„Namo“ which stands for “seamlessly mobile” is all about mobility and providing elderly people and people with disabilities with information on accessible modes of public transportation to destinations in Germany. The aim is to enable people, in particular those with special needs, to plan their journey from door to door using a new passenger information system. In this project, the Public Health Foundation Support Association collaborates with the Federal Ministry of Educations and Research (BMBF), the Rhein-Main-Verkehrsverbund (RMV) and other partners. The Public Health Foundation provides details on the accessibility of doctors’ offices. This enables patients to find a practice that meets their individual needs and plan their journey accordingly.
Research: Projects and Surveys
The Public Health Foundation also commissions research projects relating to accessibility. With its periodic surveys on the current state of accessibility in outpatient medical care, the Public Health Foundation provides an empirical basis for the analysis of medical infrastructure in Germany. This makes it possible to establish the specific need for improvements, conduct resource planning and implement any measures required. The Foundation uses a highly differentiated catalogue of criteria defining accessibility to determine and illustrate the current state of accessibility in outpatient care.
Accessibility on the Internet
The Public Health Foundation is also committed to accessibility on the Internet – providing its own seal of quality “Certified Website” („Geprüfte Homepage“). The seal identifies health-related websites which provide reliable and understandable information for consumers. In order to establish the quality of a website, the Public Health Foundation has developed a whole catalogue of evaluation criteria. These are regularly reviewed and adjusted to new developments. A whole section of 20 individual criteria is concerned with accessibility, for example whether a website can be read by assisting devices such as screen readers. Thus, websites certified by the Public Health Foundation meet formal and content-related criteria as well as a certain standard of internet accessibility.