RESNA 27th International Annual Confence

Technology & Disability: Research, Design, Practice & Policy

June 18 to June 22, 2004
Orlando, Florida

Platform Independent and Web-Based AT Outcome Data Collection Tools

Frank DeRuyter, PhD1; Carin Caves, BS1;
Dan Saldana, AA1;Jeff Jutai, PhD2
1Division of Speech Pathology & Audiology,
Duke University Medical Center
2Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, University of Western Ontario


This presentation will discuss and demonstrate various platform and web-based AT outcome data collection tools that have been developed by the Consortium for Assistive Technology Outcomes Research (CATOR) funded through NIDRR.


Assistive technology, outcomes, data capture, data collection tools


Most AT outcomes instruments are completed with paper/pencil, and as a consequence, the process of entering data into a central database requires significant effort. It has been our contention that the collection of outcomes data using web-based interfaces for direct entry, and/or portable devices (such as personal digital assistants [PDAs] or tablet computers) would facilitate data collection in the field. These data could easily be ported digitally into a main data collection/repository site either synchronously or asynchronously.

The goal of this presentation is to demonstrate via video clips a number of platform and web-based AT outcome data collection tools that have been developed by the Consortium for Assistive Technology Outcomes Research (CATOR) funded through NIDRR. The work to be presented and demonstrated is the result of two specific projects undertaken as part of the ongoing grant.


The first project was to determine the feasibility of developing platform-independent electronic data collection instruments and their subsequent functionality within the clinical setting. To be successful, portable/mobile strategies were required to be successful at addressing location, software, and user independence. Facilitation of direct entry of AT outcomes data collection was accomplished through the use of both palm and Tablet PC platforms. To date, the following portable/mobile solutions for specific AT outcome instruments have been developed and will be demonstrated:

To address functionality, each of these developed platform-independent AT data collection tools were implemented within AT service delivery programs for beta-testing and evaluation. Results will be presented as well as examples of data collection reports that subsequently developed.

The second project pursued the development web-based AT outcome data collection tools and their subsequent functionality within the clinical and administrative environment. To be successful, it was determined that web-based data collection strategies would require location, user, platform, and software independence. To address a broad potential user stakeholder group, it was determined that web-based solutions would need to address both “in-house reporting” within a specific clinical setting as well as “remote reporting.” In-house reporting was deemed important to facilitate ease of use by staff that may travel throughout a facility such as inpatient units within a medical center. Remote reporting was required to address not only reporting from remote locations, but also potential data entry from varying systems, the ability to enter data automatically or following portable device synchronization, and finally, the ability to observe results or reports instantaneously. Finally, because many AT devices are web enabled and the web is an equalizer for many within the disability community, this project undertook an additional component of examining the potential of web-based data collection tools as a method of participation by users of AT in community-based research. To date, the modules for the Assistive Technology Act (ATA) Annual Performance Report, ATDPA, PIADS, and QUEST have been developed for online, web-based reporting and will be demonstrated.


The two above referenced projects have continued to evolve and several additional activities are underway that are worthy of mention and will be discussed. First, the Consortium for Assistive Technology Outcomes Research (CATOR) at the recent RESNA and AAATE meetings has pursued international collaboration in the above projects. With the resultant development of the Assistive Technology International Outcomes Consortium (ATIOC), efforts are currently underway for the development of an international web-based data repository for AT outcomes data that would allow data from multiple outcome instruments and stakeholders in an effort to provide a variety of cross-dimensional AT outcome reports. Secondly, with the assistance of an outside consultant, CATOR is currently undertaking an effort exploring the potential commercialization of the above referenced tools and instruments. The results and updates of these efforts will be presented.


This document was developed in part under grant H133A010401 from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) in the U.S. Department of Education. The CATOR principal investigators are Frank DeRuyter (Project Director), Wendy Coster, Marcus Fuhrer, Jeffrey Jutai, and Marcia Scherer.

Address correspondence to

Frank DeRuyter
Duke University Medical Center,
Division of Speech Pathology & Audiology
DUMC 3887
Durham, NC 27710
Phone: 919.684-6271,
Fax: 919.684-8298,

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