Challenges of user-centred assistive technology provision in Australia: shopping without a prescription

Steel, Emily J. and Layton, Natasha Ann and Foster, Michele M. and Bennett, Sally (2016) Challenges of user-centred assistive technology provision in Australia: shopping without a prescription. Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology, 11 (3). pp. 235-240. ISSN 1748-3107

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Abstract

Purpose: People with disability have a right to assistive technology devices and services, to support their inclusion and participation in society. User-centred approaches aim to address consumer dissatisfaction and sub-optimal outcomes from assistive technology (AT) provision, but make assumptions of consumer literacy and empowerment. Policy discourses about consumer choice prompt careful reflection, and this paper aims to provide a critical perspective on user involvement in assistive technology provision.
Methods: User-centred approaches are considered, using literature to critically reflect on what user involvement means in AT provision. Challenges at the level of interactions between practitioners and consumers, and also the level of markets and policies are discussed, using examples from Australia.
Results: There is no unanimous conceptual framework for user-centred practice. Power imbalances and differing perspectives between practitioners and consumers make it difficult for consumers to feel empowered. Online access to information and international suppliers has not surmounted information asymmetries for consumers or lifted the regulation of publicly funded AT devices.
Conclusions: Ensuring access and equity in the public provision of AT is challenging in an expanding market with diverse stakeholders. Consumers require personalised information and support to facilitate their involvement and choice in AT provision. Implications for Rehabilitation:
Variations in approaches informing AT provision practices have a profound impact on equity of access and outcomes for consumers. An internationalised and online market for AT devices is increasing the need for effective information provision strategies and services. Power imbalances between practitioners and consumers present barriers to the realisation of user-centred practice.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Accepted version deposited in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty / Department / School: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Health and Wellbeing
Date Deposited: 23 Nov 2017 00:19
Last Modified: 28 Nov 2017 02:05
Uncontrolled Keywords: client-centred practice; consumers; people with disability; policy; reform; assistive technology
Fields of Research : 11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111703 Care for Disabled
16 Studies in Human Society > 1605 Policy and Administration > 160512 Social Policy
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 92 Health > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920403 Disability and Functional Capacity
C Society > 92 Health > 9202 Health and Support Services > 920201 Allied Health Therapies (excl. Mental Health Services)
Identification Number or DOI: 10.3109/17483107.2014.941953
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/33333

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