Dr. Rochelle Mendonca’s research focus and expertise on the accessibility of medical devices has earned her a seat on the United States Access Board, an independent federal agency whose primary mission is accessibility for people with disabilities. Dr. Mendonca and USciences make up the only representation of educators on the Board’s Medical Diagnostic Equipment Standards Committee; the remaining seats are occupied by professionals in medical equipment manufacturing and assessment companies.
The committee was birthed in response to the Affordable Care Act which now requires our healthcare system to ensure that patient’s with disabilities receive equal access to care in terms of medical diagnostic equipment such as examination tables, examination chairs, weight scales, scanning equipment, and mammography equipment. To create the committee, the Board sent a request nation-wide in acquisition of the country’s most qualified professionals.
Dr. Mendonca looks forward to helping develop standards that can guide medical equipment designers and manufactures to understand how to incorporate accessibility into the design process.
“Patients with disabilities often do not get the appropriate healthcare mainly because the devices don’t accommodate these individuals. This can be fatal as a result because these patients are not always screened and diagnosed in time,” she explained.
Dr. Mendonca and the committee will develop guidelines which will hopefully be adopted by the Department of Justice to mandate equitable access for all patients. The team has already begun reviewing important documentation and pulling research. On September 28 and 29, the committee will meet for the first time and will hold eight more two-day, intensive meetings throughout the year.
For more information, visit http://www.access-board.gov/medical-equipment.htm