Date Presented 04/22/2023
Technology is changing occupations, requiring digital competencies to live independently and participate in society. OTs were surveyed about attitudes, barriers, and opportunities for implementing technologies and addressing clients’ digital needs.
Primary Author and Speaker: Adi Segal
Contributing Authors: Nancy W. Doyle
PURPOSE: The digital revolution is changing occupational demands: technological competencies are required to live independently and participate in society. Occupational therapists must keep up with technology developments and innovations to properly evaluate digital occupations and environments, implement technology to benefit their clients, and support interventions that target technology competence. This research study surveyed OTs about their attitudes, approach, and knowledge when addressing tech-related occupations and environments in practice in order to identify the professional gaps in tech-related occupational therapy.
DESIGN: A cross-sectional quantitative observational survey of occupational therapists worldwide. Questions addressed OT’s skills, barriers, knowledge, and attitudes to incorporating technology and addressing clients’ digital skills and needs in occupational therapy practice.
METHOD: Online Qualtrics survey disseminated via social media and professional groups.
RESULTS: Preliminary results of this ongoing study suggest that: more than 50% of OTs are unfamiliar with any standardized assessments for digital functioning; Perceived lack of relevant measures and interventions are leading barriers in addressing clients’ digital functioning; Funding and insufficient knowledge (both in OT academic studies and keeping up-to-date in current practice) are the leading barriers to using technology in OT practice.
CONCLUSION: The findings of this study suggest that occupational therapists lack the knowledge and training to address tech-related occupations adequately. The results support the need to implement educational and training programs to include, revise and develop digital skills. The occupational therapy profession needs to adapt to the changing occupational demands and actively progress into the digital revolution embracing the many opportunities technology and digital platforms provide.
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