Use of Accessible Weight Scales and Examination Tables/Chairs for Patients with Significant Mobility Limitations by Physicians Nationwide

Lisa I. Iezzoni*, Sowmya R. Rao, Julie Ressalam, Dragana Bolcic-Jankovic, Karen Donelan, Nicole Agaronnik, Tara Lagu, Eric G. Campbell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Background: Mobility limitations are the most common disability type among the 61 million Americans with disability. Studies of patients with mobility limitations suggest that inaccessible medical diagnostic equipment poses significant barriers to care. Methods: The study team surveyed randomly selected US physicians nationwide representing seven specialties about their reported use of accessible weight scales and exam tables/chairs when caring for patients with mobility limitations. A descriptive analysis of responses was performed, and multivariable logistic regression was used to examine associations between accessible equipment and participants’ characteristics. Results: The 714 participants (survey response rate = 61.0%) were primarily male, White, and urban, and had practiced for 20 or more years. Among those reporting routinely recording patients’ weights (n = 399), only 22.6% (standard error [SE] = 2.2) reported always or usually using accessible weight scales for patients with significant mobility limitations. To determine weights of patients with mobility limitations, 8.1% always, 24.3% usually, and 40.0% sometimes asked patients. Physicians practicing ≥ 20 years were much less likely than other physicians to use accessible weight scales: odds ratio (OR) = 0.51 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.26–0.99). Among participants seeing patients with significant mobility limitations (n = 584), only 40.3% (SE = 2.2) always or usually used accessible exam tables or chairs. Specialists were much more likely than primary care physicians to use accessible exam tables/chairs: OR = 1.96 (95% CI = 1.29–2.99). Conclusion: More than 30 years after enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act, most physicians surveyed do not use accessible equipment for routine care of patients with chronic significant mobility limitations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)615-626
Number of pages12
JournalJoint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Leadership and Management


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