Measuring assistive technology supply and demand: A scoping review

Catherine Holloway, Jamie Danemayer, Dorothy Boggs, Emma M. Smith, Vinicius Delgado Ramos, Linamara Rizzo Battistella
Dec. 24, 2021


The supply of and market demand for assistive products (APs) are complex and influenced by diverse stakeholders. The methods used to collect AP population-level market data are similarly varied. In this paper, we review current population-level AP supply and demand estimation methods for five priority APs and provide recommendations for improving national and global AP market evaluation.

Abstracts resulting from a systematic search were double-screened. Extracted data include WHO world region, publication year, age-groups, AP domain(s), study method, and individual assessment approach.

497 records were identified. Vision-related APs comprised 65% (n = 321 studies) of the body of literature; hearing (n = 59), mobility (n = 24), cognitive (n = 2), and studies measuring multiple domains (n = 92) were proportionately underrepresented. To assess individual AP need, 4 unique approaches were identified among 392 abstracts; 45% (n = 177) used self-report and 84% (n = 334) used clinical evaluation. Study methods were categorized among 431 abstracts; Cross-sectional studies (n = 312, 72%) and secondary analyses of cross-sectional data (n = 61, 14%) were most common. Case studies illustrating all methods are provided.

Employing approaches and methods in the contexts where they are most well-suited to generate standardized AP indicators will be critical to further develop comparable population-level research informing supply and demand, ultimately expanding sustainable access to APs.