Evidence of Assistive Technology Outcomes & Impact
An International Summit Organized by GAATO and RESNA as part of the 2020 RESNA Conference (USA), July 7-10, 2020
The field of assistive technology (AT) has often reflected on the outcomes of professional interventions or technology adoption by persons with disabilities or older adults. Tools have been developed and validated by the AT research community that help to collect evidence of measurable change in the condition or perceived condition of the individual. Outcome assessment tells us whether a process has led to a certain goal and is very often also used to represent the quality of that process.
Impact on the other hand seems to refer to a much broader effect, often difficult to pin down, to predict, or to measure. According some authors "impact can be conceptualized as the long term effect of an outcome" (A. Harding, 2014). In the field of assistive technology we can think about "empowerment", "participation", "self-fulfilment".
Both outcome measurement and impact measurement can use qualitative and quantitative methods, either at individual or collective level.
For policymaking bodies at all levels data about both outcome and impact are relevant. They can inform decision making about investments in services and training, but they also serve to direct or measure the fulfilment of high level policy goals.
Globally fostering AT is meeting increasing interest from policymakers, not only as an answer to the increased demand for independence of individuals, but also as a strategy to reach higher level policy goals, such as "building inclusive societies", "reaching sustainable development goals", "respect for human rights", "economic independence and full employment", "well-being", etc.
In this international session we would like to discuss evidence of AT outcomes and impact and the relationship between the two research objectives. We would like to do this from an international perspective, thus feeding the global discussion on access to AT as a human right and the discussion within the WHO and the GATE community of the best possible strategies to advance access to AT and AT services worldwide.