Mobilising knowledge to improve assistive technology commissioning, service provision and sustained implementation

Project: Other

Project Details


Assistive technology is a term that refers to a range of technological equipment that can help to support people facing different health and care challenges to live as independently as possible. Devices include alarms and sensors to help people to stay safe around the home, as well as digital technology such as visual communication software that makes it easier for people to keep in contact with their support network. ‘Knowledge mobilisation’ refers to the ways in which research and other evidence (knowledge) can be used (mobilised) to influence practice.

Governments worldwide are keen for health and social care organisations to optimise the benefits of assistive technology within the services they provide. There is a lot of technology on the market and pioneering products are being developed at a fast pace. People in charge of services are trying to gain knowledge about assistive technology by talking to those who are designing and selling these products, reading research about what the technology can do, and learning more about what people who might use the devices want. It can be difficult to bring all this knowledge together to make the right decisions about how assistive technology can improve people’s care.

In my project I will help professionals in health and social care to identify what they need to ‘know’ about people’s lives, the available technology and the different priorities of people involved in designing and delivering services to help ensure that the chosen assistive technology fits with the person and the services supporting them. I want to find out what helps AT to become a useful part of health and social care support for older people with multiple needs living at home.

I will be working with Hertfordshire County Council as they introduce their new
assistive technology strategy, with support from two (NHS) organisations that focus on applied research to ensure patients and service users benefit from the best evidence (CLAHRC East of England and the Eastern Academic Health Science Network). Using research methods that involve from the outset those who are using or working with assistive technologies I will review current local practice and bring together knowledge about assistive technology from different sources, including the experiences of people using services. Focusing on two different approaches to using assistive technology for older people I will test a new framework for predicting and evaluating their success and interview professionals, people using services and their carers to consider what needs to be in place to ensure the potential benefits of assistive technology are realised and collective learning occurs.

Involving patients/service users and the public in research is important to ensure studies remain accountable to the people whom the research might affect, and it results in more relevant research. A reference group made up of experts by experience will support this project and current users of assistive technology will be part of my project steering group. I will work with these people, among others, to find the best ways to communicate the results of my research to the people who will be affected by it. This may be through blogs, use of social media or developing a YouTube video on what works when introducing and using assistive technology. I will also share findings through academic papers and presentations. Finally, I will produce guidance to support implementation strategies that helps professionals consider what they need to know to develop an assistive technology service that will improve experiences for people using it and improve the delivery of care overall.
Effective start/end date1/05/1830/04/21


  • H Social Sciences (General)


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