Introduction to Assistive Technology

Module 3.2: Challenges and opportunities

The Assistive Technology sector in India is at a stage where there is a wide gap between the needs and the existing solutions. It is still considered as a component of the health care sector, but the potential of AT solutions and the growing user landscape proves otherwise.

Today, the role of AT is beyond healthcare and rehabilitation and is progressively entering the mainstream market, helping to reduce the stigma associated with disabilities.
Ageing is also an additional factor that brings with it the reinforced need to develop more high-quality Assistive Aids. Thus, the scope of opportunities for budding entrepreneurs is truly immense.

Listen to the talk below to get a wider perspective on this.

About Resource Person

Focus Areas covered:

  • Disability and Assistive Technology landscape and challenges in India.
  • Need for innovation in product development, distribution channels and business channels.
  • Opportunities for indigenous solutions.
  • Best Practices to adopt in awareness, product development and delivery.
Key Takeaways From Above Lecture

The increasing population with Disability streamlines the focus towards addressing the challenges of affordable health care -in terms of rehabilitation: Therapy and Assistive Technology.

  • Disability health care requires a team approach. Assistive Technology is not just about developing quality solutions but also ensuring that they are affordable, usable at Indian conditions, ensure user training, easy maintenance, acceptance and awareness of both user and health professionals about it.
  • The demand creation is possible only if the awareness level and the social stigma attached to Disability is addressed.
  • Another key to address affordability can also be through effective advocacy to include Assistive Technology in health insurance schemes, financial concessions and Government Policies.
  • Factors that restrict interest of industries and businesses from entering Assistive Technology sector are Customization and fragmented market- which leads to supply chain and inventory challenges.

Some of the opportunities to address the above said challenges discussed were:

  • Nurturing and strengthening the AT ecosystem.

   ➤Resource centres, to upskill designers towards Disability and User-centric approach.
   ➤ Experience and Training centres for user groups to support the choice, usage and troubleshooting of AT.

  • Fuelling innovation at every level, from product development to delivery.

   ➤ Assistive Technology innovation hubs could facilitate sharing of resources.
   ➤ Emphasize impact assessment.

  • Establish significant collaborations across Public, private and NGO sectors.

   ➤ To reform funding mechanisms.

  • Enabling start-ups in transforming the AT landscape.

   ➤Support start-ups in addressing need-demand challenges.
   ➤Accelerator organizations specific to the area of AT.

  • To expand general health care to Disability and Assistive Technology.

Reference Material on Understanding Indian Context in the area of Assistive Technology