Patient empowerment frameworks, including personal health records (PHR), actively engage technology empowered citizens in their healthcare. Particularly today, with the current increase of chronic diseases, the high growth rate of the elderly and disabled populations and at the same time the much higher cross-border patient mobility,such systems may prove to be lifesaving, cost effective and time saving. Currently, there are many different online applications promoted as being functional, user-friendly and detailed enough to provide a complete and accurate summary of an individual’s medical history. However, it seems that most of the Web services available do not fully adhere to well known accessibility standards, such as those promoted by the W3C, thus turning them away from people with disability and elderly people, who most probably need them most. Additionally, support for mobile devices introduces additional obstacles to users with disability when trying to operate such services. This paper presents fundamental (design for all) guidelines for the successful implementation of an accessible ePHR service that can be operated by any patient including people with disabilities irrespective of the device they use to access this service.


E-Accessibility WCAG Disabled people Personal health record (PHR) Accessible electronic PHR (ePHR) 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): ADA standards for accessible design,
  2. 2.
    Geven, A., Sefelin, R., Tscheligi, M.: Depth and breadth away from the desktop: the optimal information hierarchy for mobile use. In: Mobile HCI 2006, pp. 157–164 (2006)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Basdekis, I., Alexandraki, C., Mourouzis, A., Stephanidis, C.: Incorporating Accessibility in Web-Based Work Environments: Two Alternative Approaches and Issues Involved. In: Proceedings of the 11th HCI International 2005, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA (2005)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Basdekis, I., Karampelas, P., Doulgeraki, V., Stephanidis, C.: Designing Universally Accessible Networking Services for a Mobile Personal Assistant. In: Stephanidis, C. (ed.) UAHCI 2009, Part II. LNCS, vol. 5615, pp. 279–288. Springer, Heidelberg (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Basdekis, I., Klironomos, I., Metaxas, I., Stephanidis, C.: An overview of web accessibility in Greece: a comparative study 2004-2008. Universal Access in the Information Society 9(2), 185–190 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Cabinet Office: eAccessibility of public sector services in the European Union (2005),
  7. 7.
    DeJong, G., Palsbo, S.E., Beatty, P.W., Jones, G.C., Knoll, T., Neri, M.T.: The organization and financing of health services for persons with disabilities. Milbank Quarterly 80, 261–301 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    E.U. Communication COM/2004/0356 final, The eHealth action plan,
  9. 9.
    Buchanan, G., Farrant, S., Jones, M., Thimbleby, H., Marsden, G., Pazzani, M.: Improving mobile internet usability. In: Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on World Wide Web, Hong Kong, May 1-5, pp. 673–680 (2001)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
  11. 11.
    Karampelas, P., Basdekis, I., Stephanidis, C.: Web User Interface Design Strategy: Designing for Device Independence. In: Stephanidis, C. (ed.) UAHCI 2009, Part I. LNCS, vol. 5614, pp. 515–524. Springer, Heidelberg (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Lober, W., Zierler, B., Herbaugh, A., Shinstrom, S., Stolyar, A., Kim, E., Kim, Y.: Barriers to the use of a Personal Health Record by an Elderly Population. In: AMIA Annu. Symp. Proc., pp. 514–518 (2006)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Neri, M.T., Kroll, T.: Understanding the Consequences of Access Barriers to Health Care: Experiences of Adults with Disabilities. Disability and Rehabilitation 25(2), 85–96 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Nomensa: United Nations global audit of web accessibility (2006),
  15. 15.
    Stephanidis, C.: User Interfaces for All: New perspectives into Human-Computer Interaction. In: Stephanidis, C. (ed.) User Interfaces for All - Concepts, Methods, and Tools, pp. 3–17, 760 pages. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Mahwah (2001) ISBN 0-8058-2967-9Google Scholar
  16. 16.
  17. 17.
    Taylor, D., Hoenig, H.: Access to health care services for the disabled elderly. Health Serv. Res. 41 (Pt 1), 743–758 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
  19. 19.
    Tsiknakis, M., Spanakis, M.: Adoption of innovative eHealth services in prehospital emergency management: a case study. In: 10th IEEE International Conference on Information Technology and Applications in Biomedicine (ITAB), Corfu (November 2010)Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    UN - Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities,
  21. 21.
    U.S.Rehabilitation Act (1973). Section504 (1973),
  22. 22.
    U.S.Rehabilitation Act (1973). Section 508 (1973),
  23. 23.
    W3C-WAI, Shared Web Experiences: Barriers Common to Mobile Device Users and People with Disabilities (2007),
  24. 24.
    W3C-WAI, Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0,
  25. 25.
    W3C-WAI, Mobile Web Best Practices 1.0,
  26. 26.
  27. 27.
    Web Portal of the Hellenic General Secretariat for Research and Technology, Ministry of Education and Lifelong Learning,
  28. 28.
    Web portal Universally Accessible eServices for Disabled People,
  29. 29.
    West, D.M., Miller, E.A.: The digital divide in public e-health: Barriers to accessibility and privacy in state health department websites. Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved 17, 652–667 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© ICST Institute for Computer Science, Social Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ioannis Basdekis
    • 1
  • Vangelis Sakkalis
    • 1
  • Constantine Stephanidis
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of Computer ScienceFoundation for Research and Technology – HellasGreece
  2. 2.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of CreteGreece

Personalised recommendations