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Client Stories

Spaulding Rehabilitation Network creates a new digital frontier for accessibility

Patient sitting on table at doctors office with nurse using laptop

The Client:

The Spaulding Rehabilitation Network includes Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, which has a main campus in Charlestown and was named the second-ranked rehabilitation hospital in the country by U.S. News & World Report. The network also includes Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital Cape Cod, Spaulding Hospital Cambridge, Spaulding Nursing and Therapy Center Brighton and 25 outpatient sites throughout Eastern Massachusetts.

The Challenge:

When Spaulding Rehabilitation Network set out to redesign their website, they wanted to provide a patient-first experience that worked for all users, regardless of ability. They didn’t just want to meet the standard, they wanted to lead the way in usability and accessibility, so they teamed up with Perkins Access to go “beyond compliance” and prove that an accessible site can be just as beautiful as an inaccessible one.

The Solution:

Perkins Access worked with Spaulding to reach beyond compliance standards by incorporating inclusive design and usability testing. Our experts considered key areas of accessibility including — color and contrast, keyboard access and text alternatives. We also conducted rigorous user testing with people who represent Spaulding’s patient population, which encompasses a broad spectrum of age, socio-economics, gender and disability. Patients with minimal to no mobility with cognitive challenges and visual impairments were able to complete key tasks on the new Spaulding website using a number of devices, including desktop computers, tablets and smartphones along with assistive technology.

Graphic In Plain Text

The Outcome:

Spaulding launched a beautiful and accessible redesigned site, winning praise from patients and patient families alike.

Chris Hoeh, a spinal cord injury survivor and Spaulding patient, has limited mobility in his upper extremities. This makes web navigation difficult, particularly on his phone.

“I use my phone for everything, but there are some websites I go to where the font is really tiny, or the buttons are hard to click, and it’s difficult to expand the screen. It’s just frustrating,” he said. “To have a website that’s easy for me to use my thumb to navigate is incredible.”

Perkins Access continues to work with Spaulding to ensure their digital experiences remain accessible going forward as they add new content and their site evolves.

Spaulding Rehabilitation & Perkins Access: Digital Accessibility puts patients first

Get the Video Transcript

“The patients we serve have a wide range of abilities and it is imperative that everyone can access digital information on care, research, education and advocacy that is so central to what we do. Partnering with Perkins Access, an organization aligned with us in spirit, to achieve these lofty goals has been a wonderful experience.”

David Storto, President, Spaulding Rehabilitation Network and Partners Continuing Care

Video Transcript

Audio description: Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital. Patients in rehab. David Storto, Spaulding President.

David Storto, President, Spaulding Rehabilitation Network & Partners Continuing Care: People want to be included. People want to be included in society in many, many respects; in particular, when it comes to trying to access the right kind of healthcare.

Audio description: Oz Mondejar, Spaulding’s Senior VP, Mission & Advocacy.

Oz Mondejar, Senior VP, Mission & Advocacy, Spaulding Rehabilitation Network: It’s critically important that our website is accessible and it includes all of our patients that look for services at Spaulding. And by providing an accessible website we include the entire community. And I think it will really help us communicate with our patients in a much more profound way.

Audio description: Luiza Aguiar, Perkins Solutions Executive Director.

Luiza Aguiar, Executive Director, Perkins Solutions: The Spaulding website redesign was the impetus for our most recent collaboration. Spaulding came to us at the ideal time. They wanted to build accessibility into the design before they started coding the project. We were thrilled to work with Spaulding because we believe that building accessibility into the design phase makes a better experience for all down the road.

Audio description: Kate Dalbey, Hero Digital, Sr. VP Client Services.

Kate Dalbey, Sr. VP Client Services, Hero Digital: When you start to design and build a website that’s completely accessible for people with disabilities, you move someone away from being a corporate-first website to a patient-first website.  And that is a trend that absolutely has to happen in healthcare.

Audio description: Young man walks with cane down hallway.

Joshua Boissoneau, Human Resources Assistant, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital: I’m Joshua Boissoneau. I’m a human resources assistant here at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Charlestown and currently have an undiagnosed neurological disease. So I just woke up one morning without feeling in my entire body and was paralyzed, so it just kind of came on randomly.

When I arrived at Spaulding they put a team together of P.T., O.T. and speech, and it was an intensive program. Fortunately for me, I was able to progress and kind of push through some of the hurdles I had to face.

Audio description: An office computer.

Joshua Boissoneau: I’ve slowly gotten the feeling back in my core, but I don’t have feeling in my extremities, my arms, from my elbows down or from my knees down.

An accessible website will make life a lot easier to navigate.  It’ll also make it easier for individuals like myself that have dexterity issues and having an accessible website we’ll be self-sufficient in what they’re looking for.

Audio description: Gary Aussant, Director of Digital Accessibility, Perkins Access.

Gary Aussant, Director of Digital Accessibility, Perkins Access: Today we’re at Spaulding Rehab in Charlestown to do some user testing on the new website to ensure that the website is easy to use and that it’s as accessible as possible.

Audio Description: Patients using new, accessible website.

Luiza Aguiar: We have a very unique user network of people with disabilities, who are very important to every project that we do, and it was critical to Spaulding to put the patient first. And the way we do that is bring in actual members of the community who have disabilities and can participate in creating a much more accessible design.

Audio Description: Ilena Kleponis, Stroke Survivor & Spaulding Patient.

Ilena Kleponis, Stroke Survivor & Spaulding Patient: I think making the site more accessible is wonderful because anybody going to the site should feel like, “Oh, I know how to get there. I know what to do.”

Audio Description: Chris Hoeh, Spinal Cord Injury Survivor & Patient.

Chris Hoeh, Spinal Cord Injury Survivor & Spaulding Patient: I use my phone for just about everything and being able to have a website that’s easy for me to use my thumb to navigate is incredible.

Audio Description: Kevin McMonagle, VP, Klish Group.

Kevin McMonagle, VP, Klish Group: Really kind of makes it all worthwhile to be able to get to that content and say yeah, you know, this is a great improvement and this is really going to help me when I come to the Spaulding Rehab site.

David Storto: You’ve got to go above and beyond. You’ve got to set the example for others to be able to join you, and this is a way of bringing everyone in and making them feel like an important part of the community.

Audio Description: Visit and experience patient-first accessibility.

Visit Learn more about making your digital products and services accessible.

Logos on screen. Spaulding Rehabilitation Network. Perkins Access.


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