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Post-Installation Technique for the Client-centred Evaluation of Electronic Assistive Technology


Electronic Assistive Technology, risk analysis; risk management; independent living; telecare


Electronic Assistive Technology (EAT) is now being more and more widely used as a way of enabling older and disabled people—generally referred to as clients—to live independently in their own homes. After the technology is installed, however, there is usually a settling in period during which the clients have to get used to the technology and how it works. The technology often affects the way that clients go about their everyday lives in ways that may be irritating, or problematic, and are sometimes not immediately obvious. In order to capture this impact of the technology, the post-installation technique (PIT) was developed, based on the risk management framework developed in earlier work on the DIRC project (see "Managing risk in the home"). The PIT enables clients (possibly with the help of a carer) to systematically think about how the EAT affects their everyday living, identifying the problems as they see them.

The PIT Process is divided into a series of stages. The first stage is to identify the EAT that is installed in the client’s dwelling. This list of equipment is used to help determine which questions need to be asked during the second stage.
The second stage consists of a series of checklist style questions aimed at identifying any benefits and problems of the EAT when going about everyday activities. An sample question is shown below:

2. Where do you prepare food, eat and clear up?………………………
Since the equipment was installed:

(a) do you find preparing food, eating, and clearing up easier or are you more confident in doing it? B/P

(b) do you find preparing food, eating, and clearing up harder or are you less confident in doing it? B/P

(c) are there new things you can do now that you could not do before when preparing food, eating and clearing up? B/P

(d) are there things you can no longer do when preparing food, eating, and clearing up? B/P

(e) are there new things you have to do now when preparing food, eating and clearing up that you did not need to do before? B/P

(f) are there things you do in a different way when preparing food, eating and clearing up? B/P

The client (or carer) simply circles B (benefit) or P (problem) as appropriate for each of the questions.

Once the questions have all been answered, stage 3 involves summarising the benefits, and generating a separate sheet for each of the problems for further analysis. For each of the problems, the client is asked to identify the potential generic harm that could arise as a result of the problem (using a list of generic harms), to think about how often that harm could occur (using a list of qualitative frequencies), and to assess what they think the consequences of that harm might be (using a list of generic consequences of harms). Finally, they are asked to identify where, in their home, the problem arise, and to give each of the problems a priority rating.

Stage 4 requires the client to make suggestions about how they would like to see each of the identified problems solved. Once this stage is completed, the final stage is for the forms to be handed on to the people who provide the EAT service to deal with.

Most EAT service providers carry out a routine assessment approximately six months after the installation of an EAT system. The PIT has designed in such a way that it can easily be integrated into this assessment.


Monk, A.F., Hone, K., Lines, L., Dowdall, A., Baxter, G., Blythe, M.B. and Wright, P. (2006) Towards a practical framework for managing the risks of selecting technology to support independent living.
Applied Ergonomics, 37, 5, 599-606.

Baxter, G.D. and Monk, A.F. (2006). A technique for the client-centred evaluation of electronic assistive technology. In P.
Bust (Ed.) Contemporary Ergonomics 2006 (pp. 236-240). London, UK:
Taylor & Francis.


Gordon Baxter, G dot Baxter at psych dot york dot ac dot uk


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