Accessibility of radiology equipment for patients with mobility disabilities

Hum Factors. 2008 Oct;50(5):801-10. doi: 10.1518/001872008X354174.


Objective: The purpose was to evaluate accessibility of typical radiology platforms by participants with mobility disabilities.

Background: These patients have difficulty using radiology equipment and have an increased risk of falling.

Methods: This field study evaluated three common types of radiology platforms - X ray, computed tomography (CT) scan, and fluoroscopy - by 20 patients/participants with mobility impairments who used walking aids. The participants were required to get onto the equipment, simulate a typical radiological procedure, and get off. Each participant then watched a video of his or her own session and answered questions. Four researchers independently reviewed the videotapes and identified accessibility and safety barriers.

Results: Overall, the CT scan platform was the easiest to use and the fluoroscopy platform the most difficult, primarily because of platform height differences. Sitting up on the Xray table was rated as difficult by most participants, primarily because of a lack of hand-holds and the surface pad not being fixed in place. Maintaining a position on the fluoroscopy platform while it rotated from horizontal to vertical was difficult and frightening for most participants.

Conclusion: Some radiology platforms are difficult to use and are perceived to be less safe for patients with mobility disabilities. The interaction of patient disability and equipment design can impose substantial physical demands on medical personnel. Recommendations for improved design are provided to enhance radiology platform accessibility and safety.

Application: The findings may be applicable to the design of a wide range of medical patient platforms.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Architectural Accessibility / instrumentation*
  • Architectural Accessibility / methods
  • Equipment Design
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mobility Limitation*
  • Radiography / instrumentation*