Rehabilitation professionals in nationwide survey cite barriers to assistive technology transfer

Expert View: "Assistive technology can transform millions of lives if we work together to deliver it to those in need."

New Orleans, November 5, 2004 Despite an upsurge of remarkable advances in assistive technology during the past half-decade, offering new hope for people who desire improved function and independence, large numbers of these same people are being left behind, according to a national survey conducted by Clarkson University and Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network.

The findings, drawn from responses of more than 350 experts working in various aspects of assistive technology and rehabilitation, show that only one in 10 respondents thinks quality of life-enhancing assistive technology is readily available to the majority of the 49 million Americans living with disabilities. Nearly three-quarters of respondents feel that advances in assistive technology lag behind those in other medical and health technologies.

The survey, called "Barriers to Assistive Technology Transfer in Society" (BATTS), pointed to four key barriers preventing people from benefiting from many of the latest assistive technology products: continued funding challenges; lack of public awareness about technology's potential and availability; a shortage of trained experts; and poor collaboration among researchers, clinicians and users.

Sally Gammon, President and Chief Executive Officer of Allentown, Pa.-based Good Shepherd, who presented the survey findings today at the American Medical Rehabilitation Providers Association Educational and Leadership Conference in New Orleans, said that while progress is being made in assistive technology transfer, these efforts are falling short.

"Assistive technology can transform millions of lives if we work together to deliver it to those in need," said Ms. Gammon. "Many people don't have to be homebound, or unemployed, or limited to being cared for in an institution. A wealth of assistive technology option

Contact: Brenda Timm
Edelman Public Relations

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