The Virtual Vine Blog

Insights and information about concussion health and a smarter recovery. Plus timely tips for your everyday well-being – from food and exercise, to meditation and mindfulness.


Think accessibility is only for people with disabilities? Think again. Accessibility is about inclusivity—making a product or service usable by as many people as possible. Often, the accessibility features that benefit the people who need it most result in a better user experience for everyone.

Imagine you’re watching Netflix with the subtitles or closed-captioning on. Not only is this feature essential for anyone who is deaf or hearing impaired, but it helps any viewer catch every word and avoid having to adjust the volume while watching your favorite shows. A better, more relaxed viewing experience all around.

Why is accessibility important to digital health?

Accessibility is particularly important to digital health. The adoption of telemedicine, mobile health, apps, and wearables has boomed, in large part due to necessity when the pandemic limited the safety of in-person visits. The convenience and safety of digital health particularly helps anyone who lives with a disability, but the benefits are wide-reaching, improving healthcare access for everyone.

Digital health tools are here to stay. So what are some of the features that go into accessible design for digital health?

Accessibility beyond telemedicine

Telemedicine is the practice of using technology to provide clinical services remotely. That means you can connect to your clinician or doctor more easily, by video or voice call on your phone or computer.

The benefits of telemedicine can immediately be felt by anyone who has mobility limitations, or for whom getting to the doctor’s office is time-consuming, costly and physically challenging. The practice transforms healthcare delivery: reducing wait times, avoiding crowded offices, and sparing travel costs and time, which generally makes accessing appointments more equitable.

Digital health tools that integrate telemedicine offer another important benefit—the ability to have more frequent check-ins. Having a more regular feedback loop of input from your doctor allows you to adjust your at-home practices and regimens for better recovery and results. For anyone recovering from concussion or traumatic brain injury (TBI), this feedback loop is critical to achieving the right level of exertion to promote recovery. 

As telemedicine evolves, not only will you have more access to your doctor, but it can even enable doctors to draw expertise from one another more easily as well. Even more mobility and quality of healthcare is the future of telemedicine.

The rise of wearables and self-monitoring

As people increasingly turn to their phone or computer to connect with their doctor more regularly, there’s also been greater use of wearable devices to self-monitor health. Whether it’s a smartwatch or an EEG headband, now people can track their symptoms, monitor their baseline levels of health, and get direct feedback from their devices.

Accessible design for wearables involves making sure they are sensitive and responsive to the vital signals a person wants to track. These devices also need to be comfortable, discrete, and wearable by the most people possible—for example with glasses, curly hair, or sensitive skin.

Wearables, like telemedicine, can improve the feedback loop that supports tailored health practices and better recovery. They often come with features that assist with mobility limitations as well: such as text or voice memos for recording symptoms or automatic tracking of vitals.


While devices clearly have benefits when it comes to increasing access to healthcare, digital usage can also contribute to symptoms, such as eye strain. Based on its design, digital usage can either strain or strengthen your eyes, attention, and brain health—that’s where accessibility in digital health comes in.

Accessible design gives users the choice of color, contrast, font size and other visibility features that enhance usability and avoid eye strain.

Some of the people these features benefit most include the elderly, anyone visually impaired, and those recovering from concussion or TBI. Visual sensitivity is a common issue during concussion recovery, and so it’s important that digital health tools limit eye strain and cue the user when to take a break from looking at their screen.


Accessible design can support users who struggle with memory recall, and strengthen attention and motivation. When creating digital health tools, designers carefully craft the user experience to ensure that the information that appears on the screen at one time is complete and simple. For anyone with limited memory recall, like some people with TBI, having all the information they need on one screen reduces mental strain, frustration, or confusion.

Research shows that the gamification of digital health tools can boost motivation and promote better health outcomes. For regimens that require regular activity, reminders can help the user stay on track with their exercises, physical or mental, and encourage them to continue by rewarding them for completing those actions. The prompts can be for activities outside of the app, too (so the user doesn’t need to look at their screen for prolonged periods.)

For people recovering from concussion or TBI, getting the right amount of exertion is necessary for better brain health, without causing further injury. So a finely-tuned notification and tracking system can support them in multiple areas—keeping them and their health team informed on their daily status and progress.

As the world of accessible design advances, everyone will feel the benefits. Digital health tools thoughtfully designed for TBI or concussion recovery can help anyone improve their brain health. Because of these widespread advantages, we’re sure to see continued adoption of digital health tools—and there’s only more innovation to come.


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