Context. With the support of assistive technology a person with a disability can do a lot of activities that were impossible otherwise. Knowing which devices exist and which device provides the best solution in an individual situation is a major problem. The Flemish government acknowledged this problem already in the late 1980's. It gave the organization Vlicht the task to develop and maintain a database on assistive technology. That database grew to a public service delivery system where people with a disability can find information about devices and are helped to choose and obtain the most suited device. Currently the system is maintained and supported by the Knowledge Center Assistive Technology (KOC) of the Flemish Agency for Disabled Persons (VAPH).
The information system. Vlibank is an Internet database with information about assistive devices, their manufacturers and their Flemish distributors. Vlibank has textual and visual information. Vlibank contains digital versions of the product brochures provided by the manufacturers. The products in the database are classified in a proprietary classification based on ICF activities. Vlibank provides answers to questions like: “I have a problem with eating, which assistive devices exists?”
Impact. Vlibank is used by AT advisors, end-users, the Flemish reimbursement organization and policy makers. Vlibank contains about 9000 products and is daily questioned by 150 different users. Vlibank is only one part of the Flemish information delivery services for persons with a disability. Besides Vlibank, KOC also distributes information folders for advisors and end-users and gives educational courses about AT. In these additional services is explained how to use assistive technology, how to compare products and how to choose the best solution.