Development and evaluation of a new taxonomy of mobility-related assistive technology devices.
OBJECTIVE: This article reports on the development of a new taxonomy for mobility-related assistive technology devices. DESIGN: A prototype taxonomy was created based on the extant literature. Five mobility device experts were engaged in a modified Delphi process to evaluate and refine the taxonomy. RESULTS: Multiple iterations of expert feedback and revision yielded consensual agreement on the structure and terminology of a new mobility device taxonomy. The taxonomy uses a hierarchical framework to classify ambulation aids and wheeled mobility devices, including their key features that impact mobility. Five attributes of the new taxonomy differentiate it from previous mobility-related device classifications: (1) hierarchical structure, (2) primary device categories are grouped based on their intended mobility impact, (3) comprehensive inclusion of technical features, (4) a capacity to assimilate reimbursement codes, and (5) availability of a detailed glossary. CONCLUSIONS: The taxonomy is intended to support assistive technology outcomes research. The taxonomy will enable researchers to capture mobility-related assistive technology device interventions with precision and provide a common terminology that will allow comparisons among studies. The prominence of technical features within the new taxonomy will hopefully promote research that helps clinicians predict how devices will perform, thus aiding clinical decision making and supporting funding recommendations.
Shoemaker, LL; Lenker, JA; Fuhrer, MJ; Jutai, JW; Demers, L; DeRuyter, F
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