People in need of assistive technologies generally have contacts with many organisations, departments and professionals in the course of having their needs being assessed and met.
It is not uncommon for disabled and older people to receive between six and ten different assessments, for the different types of assistive technology.
Generally, clinical and technical staff can only assess for certain equipment types and are not able to carry out wider holistic and whole-person assessments i.e. looking at all assistive technology related needs. This is largely owing to organisational boundaries, lack of integration, different budgets and limiting eligibility criteria.
Often the different professionals carrying out assessments for an individual do not formally communicate with each other. Different information systems capture each service, and AT equipment is supplied from a number of locations and providers at different times.
Clearly the various assistive technology related services are currently not commissioned or provided in a person-centred or cost-effective way. Despite the interdependencies and overlaps between services, there are generally few systems, processes and arrangements in place to connect them, and often the service user falls between the gaps.
The emergence of new technologies is good for health, care, education and work, but without a coherent strategy and approach, these have the potential to add a further layer of complication and bureaucracy to the already fragmented provision of services.
The status quo is costly and is not meeting people’s wider needs effectively.