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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1942/27859

Title: A Functional Analysis Of An Assistive Device Information Database in Flanders: A Qualitative Study
Authors: Cardinaels, Loes
Verbrugghe, Jonas
Haesen, Mieke
Schouten, Ben
Ceccarelli, Bianca
Timmermans, Annick
Spooren, Annemie
Issue Date: 2015
Citation: The 13th edition of the AAATE biennial conference, Budapest - Hungary, 9-12/09/2015
Abstract: The Flemish assistive device information database, Vlibank, was started in 1989-1990 by the Flemish government to meet the needs for knowledge and information on assistive technology (AT). Since 2002, the Vlibank is managed by the Knowledge Centre Assistive Technology (KOC), part of the Flemish Agency for Disabled Persons (VAPH). In 2009, Vlibank became a member of EASTIN, an overarching database with seven national AT databases in Europe incorporated. Vlibank aims to have a complete overview of assistive devices in Flanders, but concentrates on devices reimbursed by VAPH. For every device, basic product information is listed, along with information on manufacturers and distributors. When available, pictures and video material are included. End-users can enter their experiences with devices and interact with other end-users. Furthermore, the KOC also tries to fulfill other information needs by giving training courses on the use of Vlibank and by publishing information brochures on devices and on the selection of the devices for people’s needs. Maintaining a database and keeping it up-to-date with new devices and technology is a very time consuming and labor-intensive task [1]. One of the problems of the Vlibank is that it is not updated with the latest technologies or AT devices and that the general structure is not updated. However, the fast growing AT market increases the need for unbiased information. A lack of information or awareness of potential end-users and AT professionals may contribute to unmet needs of end-users and acts as a barrier for people trying to access AT [2]. Recently, the policy on federal and regional level in Belgium has changed. Until now, the federal (national) level used to be responsible for the reimbursement of mobility aids. On the regional level (Flemish in this case), VAPH is responsible for the reimbursement of assistive devices in people aged under 65 years old [1]. The 6th reform of state transfers two important aspects of AT policy from federal to the regional level. First, the regional level will become solely responsible for policy and reimbursement of mobility aids. Second, the benefit to elderly people, aimed at people who are confronted with a handicap after the age of 65 years, will also become their responsibility. This expansion of responsibility means that the Flemish government needs to be able to reimburse a bigger group of AT devices, but also the changing needs of a larger group of people, regardless of their age. As a consequence, questions about efficiency improvement arise to make sure that government resources are used in the most effective and efficient way. The expansion of responsibilities and the fact that the Vlibank does not meet the current needs (to be updated and target the larger group of users with the extended group of AT devices that will be reimbursed by VAPH) are the reasons why VAPH called out the institutions to an age-independent disability policy. Because the crucial role of an AT information database in the selection of AT devices and the effectiveness of the service delivery, it is necessary to perform a functional analysis [3]. This study sets out to review how an ideal AT information database looks like and function. The aim of this study is to assess three aspects of AT information databases:  What information next to product information do target groups need when they access an AT information database?  How can this information be as client-centered and user-friendly as possible for these users?  How can interaction between the target groups be optimized in order to be able to exchange information between groups and individuals?
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1942/27859
Category: C2
Type: Conference Material
Appears in Collections: Research publications

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