Short Tilte:Trends and issues in wheelchair technologies
Year, Volume, Issue, Page(s):08, 20, 2, 61-72
There is an overwhelming need for wheelchairs and the research and development required to make them safer, more effective, and widely available. The following areas are of particular importance: practitioner credentials, accreditation, device evaluation, device user training, patient education, clinical prescribing criteria, national contracts, and access to new technology. There are over 170 U.S. wheelchair manufacturers with a total reported income of $1.33 billion. However, of these companies, only five had sales in excess of $100 million. Wheelchairs account for about 1% of Medicare spending. Use of assistive technology is an increasingly common way of adapting to a disability. The emergence of advanced mobility devices shows promise for the contribution of engineering to the amelioration of mobility impairments for millions of people who have disabilities or who are elderly. Some of the trends in wheelchairs are going to require new service delivery mechanisms, changes to public policy, and certainly greater coordination between consumers, policy makers, manufacturers, researchers, and service providers.