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

Article


Steel, Emily J., Layton, Natasha Ann, 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. https://doi.org/10.3109/17483107.2014.941953
Article Title

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

ERA Journal ID13490
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsSteel, Emily J. (Author), Layton, Natasha Ann (Author), Foster, Michele M. (Author) and Bennett, Sally (Author)
Journal TitleDisability and Rehabilitation Assistive Technology
Journal Citation11 (3), pp. 235-240
Number of Pages6
Year2016
Place of PublicationUnited States
ISSN1748-3107
1748-3115
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.3109/17483107.2014.941953
Web Address (URL)http://informahealthcare.com/doi/pdfplus/10.3109/17483107.2014.941953
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.

Keywordsclient-centred practice; consumers; people with disability; policy; reform; assistive technology
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020420318. People with disability
440712. Social policy
Public Notes

File reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher/author.

Byline AffiliationsUniversity of Queensland
Deakin University
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
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