With so many power exam table options on the market, it’s difficult to know where to begin your research. You need to choose the right power exam table for you, your patients and your budget. It can feel like a daunting task to ensure your patients are comfortable and safe in the exam room while facing the inevitable budget crunch that seems to come with the times.
This isn’t a decision to be made lightly, considering most facilities only replace their exam tables every 10-15 years. Here are some points to consider to choose the right power exam table for your facility.
#1 – Durable Construction
To get the most out of your exam tables, it is important to ensure the exam table is made for the long haul. Some exam table bases are made from steel with plastic componentry or accents. They are often textured to be aesthetically pleasing but can harbor bacteria and be difficult to clean. Consider an exam table that is made of galvanized or galvannealed steel. Because exam table bases manufactured solely with steel are more durable, corrosion resistant, and smooth, they can be extremely easy to clean and disinfect.
#2 – ADA Accessibility
According to the CDC, one in four adults is living with a disability , and World Health Organization reported that more than 50% of adults were overweight or obese in 2016. In addition, the population over age 65 is projected to grow from 48 million today to 98 million in 2060. This makes it even more critical than ever to purchase exam tables that are Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessible. Low, ADA-accessible exam table height makes it easier for older or overweight patients to sit down on the exam table, and transfer is safer for patients using wheelchairs.
#3 – Power or manual back
It’s true that purchasing power exam tables with manual backs can prove easier on the budget. However, you should carefully consider your patient population and if it would make for a better patient-provider experience to use an exam table with power back. For instance, if the majority of the patients you treat are elderly or obese, a power back makes it easier to recline and sit up without risk of injury to the patient or provider. Think comfort and safety.
#4 – Hand control with easy patient positioning
It may seem like a simple concept, but you would be surprised how often this extremely useful tool is overlooked. Not all exam table hand controls are created equal. There are few exam table hand controls on the market that can make it truly easy to properly position your patients for exams. Buy an exam table with a hand control that allows you to program a specific exam table height and back position. Then, with a push of a single button, your patient can be moved into the clinician’s preferred position. It saves time, increases efficiency and can help keep you on schedule in the exam room.
#5 – Seamless, Removable Upholstery
Some exam table upholstered tops have integrated stitching that can become snagged and create an environment for harboring bacteria or other microorganisms. Seamless upholstery, on the other hand, provides less opportunity for infection, and the smooth upholstery surface is easier to clean and disinfect to help reduce HAIs. It’s also important to consider upholstery that can be removed from the exam table for cleaning or replacement if it becomes damaged.
In addition, consider upholstery that’s non-porous and offers a protective finish to resist bacteria growth, staining and damage.
#6 – Easy-to-use, integrated wheelbase
Infection prevention has always been a top priority, but with the emergence of the COVID-19 virus, thorough cleaning and disinfection of the exam room has never been more critical. Power exam tables can weigh nearly 500 lbs and take 3-5 people to move, unless that exam table is on casters. Consider exam tables that make it easy to move for cleaning and disinfection — with a single touch of a pedal. Innovative exam tables offer a foot-activated pedal that allows even the most petite individual to safely move a 500-lb exam table with ease and lock it back into place for exams. Thorough exam room cleaning and disinfection has never been so easy.
In addition, these innovative exam tables allow you to flex exam room space, whether you need to properly position the exam table for a procedure or reorganize a smaller exam room to accommodate a wheelchair or stretcher. Moving an exam table with a single touch of a pedal can also help to streamline your office workflow.
#7 – Plug-n-play components
You know all too well that having even one exam table down in your facility can mean the difference between a smoothly running office and a scheduling nightmare. Minimizing exam table downtime is a must! Some exam tables can be difficult to repair with a technician spending hours to tear apart and fix the exam table. Consider an exam table with plug-n-play components, enabling the technician to simply unplug a damaged component and plug in a replacement component. It can save time, get your exam room back into rotation quickly and help keep your schedule running smoothly.
#8 – Options for your specialty
It probably goes without saying, but when researching which exam tables to buy, it’s important to consider which ones come with the options that accommodate your patients. Those options range from stirrups, drain pan and drawer warmer to knee crutches, armrests and electrical receptacles. If budget constraints are a concern, carefully consider which options you absolutely need to complete your work versus which options are just nice to have.
#9 – Product warranty
Exam table warranties are important in protecting your organization against defective products that fail to perform satisfactorily over the warranty period. A warranty provides you peace of mind that you will not need to pay for replacement parts due to a factory defect. Some exam tables only carry a one-year warranty while more reliable exam tables’ warranties offer up to three years.
For more information to help you choose the right power exam table, find out why leading health systems choose UMF Medical.