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Open Access Research article

User involvement in service delivery predicts outcomes of assistive technology use: A cross-sectional study in Bangladesh

Johan Borg12*, Stig Larsson1, Per-Olof Östergren2, ASM Atiqur Rahman3, Nazmul Bari4 and AHM Noman Khan4

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Health Sciences, Lund University, Malmö, Sweden

2 Social Medicine and Global Health, Lund University, Malmö, Sweden

3 Institute of Social Welfare and Research, University of Dhaka, Dhaka, Bangladesh

4 Centre for Disability in Development, Savar, Bangladesh

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BMC Health Services Research 2012, 12:330  doi:10.1186/1472-6963-12-330

Published: 20 September 2012

Abstract

Background

Knowledge about the relation between user involvement in the provision of assistive technology and outcomes of assistive technology use is a prerequisite for the development of efficient service delivery strategies. However, current knowledge is limited, particularly from low-income countries where affordability is an issue. The objective was therefore to explore the relation between outcomes of assistive technology use and user involvement in the service delivery process in Bangladesh.

Methods

Using structured interviews, data from 136 users of hearing aids and 149 users of manual wheelchairs were collected. Outcomes were measured using the International Outcome Inventory for Hearing Aids (IOI-HA), which was adapted for wheelchair users. Predictors of user involvement included preference, measurement and training.

Results

Users reported outcomes comparable to those found in other high- and low-income countries. User involvement increased the likelihood for reporting better outcomes except for measurement among hearing aid users.

Conclusions

The findings support the provision of assistive technology as a strategy to improve the participation of people with disabilities in society. They also support current policies and guidelines for user-involvement in the service delivery process. Simplified strategies for provision of hearing aids may be explored.