ONC has included an accessibility requirement as part of the 2015 Edition Certification.

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"Accessibility refers to the design of products, devices, services, or environments for people with disabilities. The concept of accessible design ensures both "direct access" (i.e. unassisted) and "indirect access" meaning compatibility with a person's assistive technology (for example, computer screen readers)."

Below is the text from ONC regarding this new requirement:

Certification Requirements

This certification criterion was adopted at § 170.315(g)(5), and is required for all developers seeking certification to any 2015 Edition certification criteria. There are no associated required privacy and security criteria for this criterion at § 170.315(g)(5).

When a single accessibility-centered design standard is used, the standard only needs to be identified once. Otherwise, the accessibility-centered design standards need to be identified for every capability to which they were applied; or, alternatively the developer must state that no accessibility-centered design was used.

Regulation Text

Accessibility-centered design

For each capability that a Health IT Module includes and for which that capability's certification is sought, the use of a health IT accessibility-centered design standard or law in the development, testing, implementation and maintenance of that capability must be identified.

(i) When a single accessibility-centered design standard or law was used for applicable capabilities, it would only need to be identified once.

(ii) When different accessibility-centered design standards and laws were applied to specific capabilities, each accessibility-centered design standard
or law applied would need to be identified. This would include the application of an accessibility-centered design standard or law to some capabilities
and none to others.

(iii) When no accessibility-centered design standard or law was applied to all applicable capabilities such a response is acceptable to satisfy this certification criterion.

Technical Outcome

This certification criterion requires health IT developers to identify relevant standards or laws; or, alternatively, permits a health IT developer to state that its health IT product presented for certification does not meet any accessibility-centered design standards or any accessibility laws.


The option to certify that health IT products do not meet any accessibility design standards or comply with any accessibility laws does not exempt them from their independent obligations under applicable federal civil rights laws that require covered entities to provide individuals with disabilities equal access to information and appropriate auxiliary aids and services.

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