US Access Board Releases Report on Accessibility Standards for Medical Equipment
Americas, January 13 2014
The Access Board’s Medical Diagnostic Equipment (MDE) Accessibility Standards Advisory Committee has issued its report on accessibility standards for medical diagnostic equipment. The committee’s report provides detailed recommendations on how MDE accessibility standards that the Board previously issued for public comment should be finalized. Once finalized by the Board, the standards will cover access to examination tables and chairs, weight scales, x-ray machines, mammography equipment, and other types of diagnostic equipment.
“The Board is breaking new ground in establishing detailed accessibility standards for medical diagnostic equipment,” notes the Board’s Executive Director David M. Capozzi. “The Board is grateful to the advisory committee for its expertise, extensive deliberations, and careful consideration of factors in preparing recommendations on the final version of the standards.”
The Board organized the advisory committee in July 2012 to review public input on the proposed standards, examine compliance issues and impacts, and develop consensus recommendations on how the MDE standards should be finalized. The committee met regularly over a year’s time to develop its recommendations and to prepare its final report, which is now available on the Board’s website. The advisory committee’s 24 members included representatives from medical device manufacturers, health care providers, disability groups, standard-setting organizations, and other stakeholders.
The committee’s report, “Advancing Equal Access to Diagnostic Services: Recommendations on Standards for the Design of Medical Diagnostic Equipment for Adults with Disabilities,” provides guidance for the Board’s use in finalizing the standards. The report includes an overview of the types of equipment to be covered by the standards and specific recommendations for the substance of provisions that address transfer access, armrests, lift compatibility, and other features for accessibility. The committee report also offers guidance on additional subjects, such as research needs and future updates of the standards.
The Board will review the committee’s report along with the public comments received on the proposed standards and finalize the MDE accessibility standards. The standards are being developed under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in consultation with other agencies, including the Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Justice.