Healthcare provider perceptions of accessible exam tables in primary care: Implementation and benefits to patients with and without disabilities

Allysha C. Maragh-Bass, Joan M. Griffin, Sean Phelan, Lila J. Finney Rutten, Megan A. Morris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Recent healthcare mandates require availability of accessible medical exam equipment, which may reduce barriers to care for patients with disabilities (PWD). However, more research is needed to explore healthcare provider views on implementation and routine use of accessible equipment. Objective: This study qualitatively explored healthcare provider perceptions of: (1) daily use of accessible medical examination tables with PWD; and (2) recommendations for addressing challenges to using this equipment. Methods: Qualitative interviews and focus groups were conducted with physicians, nurse practitioners and registered nurses at a clinic where accessible examination tables were recently implemented in all clinic rooms. Data were coded and thematically analyzed by two researchers trained in qualitative methods. Results: A total of 17 providers participated in focus groups or interviews. Participants were mostly female (82%; N = 14), and registered nurses (47%; N = 8), but also included nurse practitioners (29.4%; N = 5), and physicians (23%; N = 4). Common themes were: (1) Ease of use and functionality of tables; and (2) Challenges with use and available training. Overall, providers reported satisfaction with the tables' ability to accommodate patients who are PWD, although they expressed challenges with functionally using the tables with specific populations, such as pediatric patients. Conclusions: Healthcare organizations seeking to implement height-adjustable tables should account for structural requirements of the height-adjustable tables (e.g. accommodating clearance needed when planning room sizes). Practical recommendations and policies for integrating height-adjustable tables into routine clinical care are needed to ensure equitable care for PWD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)155-160
Number of pages6
JournalDisability and Health Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2018


  • Disability
  • Examination table
  • Health services research
  • Patient-centered care
  • Qualitative research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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