Why EdTech and HealthTech Companies Must Have Their VPATs Ready

  • 15.02.2023

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    What are EdTech and Health-Tech companies?

    EdTech, or educational technology, are companies that provide products and services comprising all the hardware and software tools used to enhance teaching and learning.

    The rising adoption of EdTech solutions has triggered an increased transition from chalkboards to smart boards, pens to styluses, slide decks to the interactive video, and from live to on-demand teaching.

    EdTech is, therefore, helping today’s teachers to integrate new technologies and tools into their classrooms, which enables them to upgrade and improve the learner-centeredness of their classrooms. It also enables teachers to engage their students in unique, innovative, and equitable ways.

    On the other hand, Health-Tech companies are businesses that provide digital health services. They use technology options like databases, applications, mobiles, wearables, etc., to improve the delivery, payment, and consumption of healthcare. They also offer opportunities to increase the development and commercialization of medical products.

    To enhance the benefits accrued from EdTech and Health-Tech solutions, EdTech and HealthTech service providers should work hard to ensure accessible EdTech and Health-Tech solutions for all intended customers, regardless of whether the customers have disabilities or not.

    HealthTech and EdTech accessibility solutions

    Health-tech and EdTech accessibility can be defined as equal and easy access to technologies used in health for disabled healthcare seekers and in education for disabled learners, respectively.

    HealthTech and EdTech accessibility solutions could, thus, be defined as products and services aimed at ensuring the accessibility of software and associated hardware to support the effective and efficient provision of healthcare as well as education in universities and other institutions of learning.

    With the ever-evolving technological solutions being introduced in various sectors across the world, companies offering digital products and services need to continually innovate to ensure that the technology tools they use or make available for use in various sectors are not only accessible but also available to all users, regardless of their disability status.

    For instance, in the education sector, EdTech companies and educational institutions should consider the different accessibility needs that current and prospective learners will have so as to factor them into their technology acquisition plans. In this way, they will ensure that the technologies are accessible to every user.

    The same applies to businesses offering digital health products and services. They should also be cognizant of the accessibility needs of current and prospective healthcare seekers when manufacturing or procuring healthcare technology solutions. 

    The VPAT process is complicated. Let us handle it for you.

      Accessible EdTech is not optional

      For organizations that offer educational products and services, it is important to keep in mind that accessible EdTech is not optional. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 504 of the U.S. Rehabilitation Act, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) require the inclusion of people with disabilities in education. It follows that a key aspect of any educational solution is ensuring that all learners (both current and prospective) have equal access to learning tools and EdTech.

      If you’re a business or organization using online platforms to educate learners, your products or services are being accessed or will probably be accessed by users in markets that demand certain levels of EdTech accessibility. The fact that your EdTech solutions could be available to learners in different accessibility markets makes it essential for you to ensure the solutions meet the accessibility standards set in those markets.

      Filling out the appropriate voluntary product accessibility templates (VPATs) for your EdTech or Health-Tech products or services and making them ready for any inquirer who wants to review them before purchasing or using your solutions is the best way to ensure your EdTech or Health-Tech products and services are accessible in various accessibility markets.

      Creating the VPAT for EdTech and Health-Tech solutions

      Let us first highlight what a VPAT is. This is a self-disclosing prototype document used for accessibility evaluation in accordance with recognized accessibility standards, namely, the Section 508 standards, the European Union’s EN 301 549 accessibility standard, and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).

      To complete a VPAT report for your EdTech or Health-Tech solution, it is advisable to get an accessibility third party agency like ADACP to help you choose the correct edition of the VPAT template to use. There are four editions that you can choose from depending on the markets in which you want your solution to be available for public procurement: Section 508 VPAT, WCAG 2.0/2.1 VPAT, EU (EN 301 549) VPAT, and International (INT) VPAT.

      The VPAT for HealthTech or EdTech solutions procurable by federal organizations should use the Section 508 VPAT edition. The VPAT EU edition helps create a VPAT report for EdTech or Health-Tech solutions that require conformance to the accessibility standards for public procurement in Europe.

      If your EdTech or HealthTech solution uses a website or is a web-based tool, the WCAG VPAT edition will provide you with the benchmarks to guide you during the VPAT testing. If you want to create a VPAT for EdTech or HealthTech solutions that would be procurable internationally, the best VPAT edition to use would be the INT VPAT because it incorporates all of the criteria and technical specifications provided in the WCAG VPAT, Section 508 VPAT, and EU (EN 301 549) VPAT.

      Reasons for having ready VPATs for your EdTech or Health-Tech solutions

      If you have an EdTech or HealthTech company, you need to have ready VPAT reports for all your solutions, regardless of whether you are located in a country that requires ICT products or services to be accessible or one that doesn’t have laws requiring that.

      Ready VPATs include those that are constantly updated to factor in any changes made to your EdTech or HealthTech solutions. Here are some of the reasons for having ready VPATs for all your EdTech and HealthTech products and services:

      1. Evidence of your commitment toward accessibility

      EdTech and HealthTech companies that have ready VPATs demonstrate that they undertake VPAT testing on their products and services. While creating and updating VPAT accessibility conformance reports (ACRs) is a voluntary endeavor by a company, companies that have normalized VPAT certification are widely perceived as being committed to accessibility.

      Updated VPATs, therefore, keep a company ahead of the rest because their ready VPATs distinguish them from those that don’t have the documents. Customers or clients with disabilities frequently rely on companies with ready VPATs to make their purchases.

      2. Enhancement of brand credibility and reputation

      EdTech and Health-Tech consumers are frequently looking for dependable and trustworthy companies or institutions to purchase their technology tools from or to enroll in as patients or learners.

      A number of public institutions also support the education of disadvantaged learners or help with the healthcare needs of disadvantaged patients. Because these public procurement institutions are accountable to taxpayers and guided by the accessibility laws in their countries, they will not consider a company for the placement of learners or patients requiring publicly funded healthcare unless the providers have ready VPATs.

      When public institutions that are known to only work with VPAT-ready companies buy your EdTech or HealthTech products or procure your services, your company’s credibility and the reputation of your brands will increase. This will trigger increased business from even private entities.


      3. Continuous improvement of EdTech or Health-Tech solutions

      VPAT audits can help EdTech and Health-Tech companies analyze the accessibility of their solutions. The VPAT testing step in preparing VPATs allows businesses to identify features in their solutions that have accessibility issues and fix them. VPAT-ready EdTech and Health-Tech companies are therefore always improving their offerings.

      4. Bespoke compliance services

      The VPAT testing that VPAT-ready EdTech and Health-Tech companies frequently conduct aids them in identifying aspects of their solutions that require specialist assistance toward improved accessibility of their solutions. The testing helps them to concentrate on the issues they want an accessibility expert to help them with, rather than having the expert go through a whole flaw discovery process before addressing the flaws that exist.

      Having ready VPATs, therefore, saves EdTech and Health-Tech companies the time and resources they could have spent if they had to procure the services of accessibility experts to help them in identifying and resolving existing accessibility issues.

      Need help with Health-Tech and EdTech accessibility solutions?

      At ADACP, we have expertise in WCAG, Section 508, and ADA VPAT testing. Our team of accessibility testers supports different entities offering EdTech and Health-Tech solutions, including colleges, universities, and other providers of EdTech and HealthTech solutions.

      When you work with us, you’re assured of high-quality and comprehensive VPAT testing and audit services that ensure your EdTech or Health-Tech solutions are fully accessible for all users, including people with disabilities.

      We also have an excellent understanding of the EdTech and Health-Tech accessibility needs of people with disabilities. We also have adequate capacity to evaluate how your EdTech and HealthTech solutions conform to the varied existing accessibility standards and guidelines.

      Talk to us at your convenience at (626) 486-2201 or by filling out a simple contact form, and let’s discuss how we can help you be VPAT-ready. Our consultations are always free!