University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

Enhancing Public Involvement in Assistive Technology Design Research

Williamson, Tracey, Kenney, L., Barker, A.T., Cooper, G., Good, T., Healey, J., Heller, B., Howard, D., Matthews, M., Prenton, S., Ryan, J. and Smith, C. (2015) Enhancing Public Involvement in Assistive Technology Design Research. Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology, 10 (3). pp. 258-265. ISSN 1748-3107

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Purpose: To appraise the application of accepted good practice guidance on public involvement in assistive technology research and to identify its impact on the research team, the public, device and trial design. Methods: Critical reflection and within-project evaluation were undertaken in a case study of the development of a functional electrical stimulation device. Individual and group interviews were undertaken with lay members of a 10 strong study user advisory group and also research team members. Results: Public involvement was seen positively by research team members, who reported a positive impact on device and study designs. The public identified positive impact on confidence, skills, self-esteem, enjoyment, contribution to improving the care of others and opportunities for further involvement in research. A negative impact concerned the challenge of engaging the public in dissemination after the study end. Conclusions: The public were able to impact significantly on the design of an assistive technology device which was made more fit for purpose. Research team attitudes to public involvement were more positive after having witnessed its potential first hand. Within-project evaluation underpins this case study which presents a much needed detailed account of public involvement in assistive technology design research to add to the existing weak evidence base.

Implications for Rehabilitation
The evidence base for impact of public involvement in rehabilitation technology design is in need of development.

Public involvement in co-design of rehabilitation devices can lead to technologies that are fit for purpose.

Rehabilitation researchers need to consider the merits of active public involvement in research.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information:

Staff and students at the University of Worcester have access to the full-text of the online published version via the UW online Library Search. External users should check availability with their local library or Interlibrary Requests Service.
The research on which this case study is based was funded by the National Institute for Health Research, England within its Health Technology Devices research funding programme (Grant number HTD480). The views expressed in this publication are the views of the authors and not necessarily those of the NHS, National Institute for Health Research or the Department of Health. The authors have no declaration of interest to report.

Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: assistive technology, co-design, evaluation, public involvement
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
T Technology > T Technology (General)
Divisions: College of Health, Life and Environmental Sciences > School of Allied Health and Community
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Depositing User: Tanya Buchanan
Date Deposited: 20 Aug 2019 19:15
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2020 17:31

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