Accessible medical equipment for patients with disabilities in primary care clinics: Why is it lacking?

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Previous research has identified inaccessible medical equipment as a barrier to health care services encountered by people with disabilities. However, no research has been conducted to understand why medical practices lack accessible equipment.


The purpose of this study was to examine practice administrators' knowledge of accessible medical equipment and cost of accessible medical equipment to understand why medical practices lack such equipment. Hypotheses were: 1) Practice administrators lacked knowledge about accessible medical equipment and 2) The cost of accessible medical equipment was too great compared to standard equipment for the clinic.


This study was a mixed methods survey of primary care practice administrators. The sixty-three participates were members of a medical management organization. Data were collected between December 20, 2011 and January 17, 2012. Proportions, Guttman scalogram, and Spearman's Rho correlation analyses were utilized.


For this sample, less than half of the administrators knew that accessible equipment existed and a fourth knew what accessible equipment existed. There was a significant (p < 0.01), positive correlation between knowledge of accessible equipment and pieces of accessible equipment in the clinics. Because less than half of the administrators had ever considered purchasing accessible equipment, it was inconclusive if cost of accessible equipment was too great.


Practice administrators' lack of knowledge of accessible medical equipment emphasizes the need not only for more education about the availability of accessible equipment but also about the importance of accessible equipment for their patients with disabilities and for physicians who provide them care.


Accessible equipment; Americans with Disabilities Act; Health services administrators; Medical instruments and apparatus; People with disabilities; Practice administrators; Primary care (Medicine)


Community Health | Disability Law | Equipment and Supplies | Health and Medical Administration


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