The use and non-use of assistive technology in Italy: Preliminary data

Stefano Federici*, Simone Borsci

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose. The present pilot study aims to analyse the relationship between the reasons of assistive technology (AT) use/non-use and the levels of user satisfaction of Italian users/patients in order to identify which features better predict AT non-use in the Italian Territorial Health Service Providers (THSPs) AT assessment process. Method. Between November 2010 and January 2011, a telephone structured interview with open- and closed-ended questions was administrated to 430 THSP users/patients who have received a hearing aid or a stairlift at least one year before. Results. Findings show a 25% of AT non-use and a strong correlation (p<.001) between AT non-use and the AT users/patients' dissatisfaction reasons - adjustments and personalisation, safety, and comfort. Of particular interest is the fact that users/patients tend to not use the AT if the follow-up provided by the THSP is dissatisfactory. A strong correlation (p<.001) is also founded among the AT satisfaction, measured by the QUEST 2.0, and some reasons of non-use; the users, indeed, claimed that they are likely to not use the AT when they are not satisfied by: i) The AT dimension or the weight, since it was hard to make it work and it did not help users/patients to perform better; ii) The AT personalisation, since they had to require more assistance than was really necessary and the AT did not help them to achieve their goals; iii) The AT safety, since users/patients had to spend a lot of energy using the AT, so involving other people (caregivers) who complained about the AT; in other cases, conversely, the safety dissatisfaction was linked to a low degree of transportability and storability of the aids; iv) The AT simplicity of use and effectiveness, since the AT did not help users/patients to perform better; v) The AT comfort, since AT required a lot of training and assistance in use, did not help to achieve users/patients goals, was not comfortable and/or was difficult to wear. Conclusion. Our data clearly show that the users' satisfaction of AT and of service providers are strongly correlated to the AT non-use, by suggesting that just a user-driven process of AT assignation process, centred on the user/patient needs and expectations might reasonably prevent the AT non-use and abandonment. The 25% of AT non-use estimated in this survey is slightly lower compared to the range of percentages usually reported by international studies that is rated from 29% to 33%. Albeit our findings suggest that there is a lower percentage of non-use than in other health systems, the AT non-use level remains high (about one quarter of the ATs assigned are not used), becoming a significant economic loss for the Italian National Health System.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEveryday Technology for Independence and Care
EditorsGert Jan Gelderblom, Mathijs Soede, Leon Adriaens, Klaus Miesenberger
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-60750-814-4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2011
Externally publishedYes
Event11th Biennial Conference of the Association for Applied Animal Andrology - Maastricht, Netherlands
Duration: 31 Aug 20112 Sept 2011
Conference number: 11

Publication series

NameAssistive Technology Research Series
ISSN (Print)1383-813X
ISSN (Electronic)1879-8071


Conference11th Biennial Conference of the Association for Applied Animal Andrology
Abbreviated titleAAATE 2011


  • Assignation process
  • Assistive technology assessment
  • National health systems
  • Non-use and abandonment
  • QUEST 2.0
  • Satisfaction
  • User-centred design
  • n/a OA procedure


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