HabITec: A Sociotechnical Space for Promoting the Application of Technology to Rehabilitation
Elizabeth Kendall, Soo Oh, Delena Amsters, Mary Whitehead, Justin Hua, Paul Robinson, Dinesh Palipana, Andrew Gall, Ming Cheung, Leigh Ellen Potter, Derek Smith and Brett Lightfoot 7
Abstract: Society is currently facing unprecedented technological advances that simultaneously create opportunities and risks. Technology has the potential to revolutionize rehabilitation and redefine the way we think about disability. As more advanced technology becomes available, impairments and the environmental barriers that engender disability can be significantly mitigated. The opportunity to apply technology to rehabilitation following serious injuries or illnesses is becoming more evident. However, the translation of these innovations into practice remains limited and often inequitable. This situation is exacerbated by the fact that not all relevant parties are involved in the decision-making process. Our solution was to create a sociotechnical system, known as HabITec, where people with disabilities, practitioners, funders, researchers, designers and developers can work together and co-create new solutions. Sociotechnical thinking is collaborative, interdisciplinary, adaptive, problem-solving and focused on a shared set of goals. By applying a sociotechnical approach to the healthcare sector, we aimed to minimize the lag in translating new technologies into rehabilitation practice. This collaborative co-design process supports innovation and ensures that technological solutions are practical and meaningful, ethical, sustainable and contextualized. In this conceptual paper, we presented the HabITec model along with the empirical evidence and theories on which it has been built.