Development and evaluation of a classification of assistive technology services
Tan, Chuan Hoh
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This study reports on the development and evaluation of a new classification of assistive technology (AT) services. A prototype classification of AT services was created based on existing classifications and literature. A panel of six experts in AT practice and research evaluated the prototype classification using a modified Delphi process. Two rounds of expert feedback and revision yielded consensual agreement on the structure and terminology of the new classification of AT services. Two major attributes of the new classification differentiate it from previous classifications of AT services: (1) its hierarchical framework includes comprehensive representation of both structure and process factors; and (2) its terms are defined in a supplementary glossary. The creation of this classification has four potential benefits: (a) It will enable researchers to describe and measure AT services with a precision and consistency that will facilitate comparisons among studies; (b) it may help clinicians predict the outcomes of clinical decision making and support funding recommendations; (c) it may improve communication among multiple stakeholders (e.g., case managers, AT suppliers, and funding agents) involved in AT provision; and (d) its terminology may prompt its use in clinical practice guidelines, program evaluation, and electronic medical records.