Technical Report - History of Assistive Technology Outcomes (Version 1.0)
Roger O. Smith, PhD, OT, Kathy Longenecker Rust, MS, OTR, April Lauer, BS, OTS & Erin Boodey, BS, OTS
- Historical Foundations of AT Outcomes Measurement, listing format (PDF, 1.27MB)
- Historical Foundations of Assistive Technology Outcomes Measurement Time Line, horizontal format (PDF, 0.537MB)
Rationale for field scan
The purpose of this field scan was to place assistive technology outcomes
measurement in the context of time. We understood that AT outcomes
measurement activity has been a relatively new phenomenon. It seemed
that publications and services discussions have only occurred in
the past decade or so. We also saw that measuring the outcomes of
assistive technology has become a significant concern for AT practitioners
and the research community. This field scan reviews the literature
from an historical perspective and summarizes major events related
to AT and AT outcomes.
Description of scope of scan
This field scan reviews publications from the last thirty years. The resulting chronology lists significant events that have either precipitated AT outcomes work or contributed directly as an AT outcomes publication. The chronology includes years, descriptions, significance, and references. Then we divide the events into two groups: 1) outcomes predecessors and 2) outcomes focus. We then categorize the service delivery contexts of these publications by: a) medical, b) educational, c) vocational, and d) independent living areas. The final categorization of the events divides them into: a) Legal Policies & Standards, b) Publications, and c) Outcome Measurement Instruments.
Data collection procedures
The ATOMS project team launched the field scan with a series of internal interviews. We then followed up with a literature search of recommended sources, evaluating reference lists and bibliographies of key papers and a review of Science Citation key sources. Listed events were sorted into a chronological order and categorized.
The chronological list is presented in two displays; the first is set-up as a two-dimensional array (PDF 0.50MB) that lists events and respective codes. The second is set-up as a time-line horizontal chart (PDF 0.42MB) labeled by key descriptors.
The precursors to AT outcomes work began in the area of legal policy standards starting with the Institute of Medicine in 1970. It wasn’t until the mid 1990’s that publications and outcome measurement instruments emerged. This field of interest is young. Six specific summary observations follow.
- Federal laws and regulations seem to serve as precursors to AT outcomes measurement development.
- This chronology speaks to AT outcomes measurement not AT outcomes research that might follow a parallel, but distinct path.
- All four service areas (medicine, education, vocational rehabilitation, and independent living) are represented with highly interdisciplinary efforts.
- The field of AT outcomes measurement is very young, with focused works mostly published since the mid 1990’s.
- Many Federal agencies and organizations have prominently shown interest and encouraged progress in AT outcomes measurement research. Perhaps this has occurred on the wave of socio-political interest related to accountability.
- Little outcomes measurement to date has dealt with cost, although mention of the need is increasing.
The field of assistive technology remains young, maybe in its infancy. This field scan organized published interdisciplinary contributions into a single source detailing the major events in AT outcomes.
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