Plan the Pilot



There are many factors you must consider when planning for a technology pilot. From legal approvals to funding and infrastructure, following are key considerations for your pilot.

In preparation for the future, Ability Beyond pursued grants as a way to fund a pilot on technology. The pilot allows the agency to assess individuals’ needs, run pilots in programs and assess the effectiveness of the technology against the need. The traditional funding in programs does not adequately fund…
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Assessment We created a consistent Assessment Tool and a process for linking the technology innovations to the individual’s wishes, desires, and needs. We also developed a process for Needs related to safety.

Review regulations, wavers, and state statutes on the usage of technology and Human Rights. If services are funded by the state or Medicaid is the intended technology use permitted and/or how the technology usage relates to to supervision of the individual. We suggest the usage of technology is written into the individual’s Treatment Plan.


Explore grants that can help fund the project; initial capital expenditures, interfaces between systems, consultants and staff time to implement.

  • Grants may be available through the State, Federal Technology Grants or Foundations
  • Develop relationships with vendors of products for financial assistance especially deals for non-profits or buying in volume
  • Become an innovation partner with a vendor, partner on the development of the technology to meet the needs of individuals served and offer to do initial pilots
  • Within individuals waivers and program contracts discuss initial and on-going expenses for devices
  • Can the technology be funded by the state to promote greater independence and autonomy for individuals served
  • Can hours of staff support be reduced or neutralize the overall costs for the individual’s plan
Infrastructure and Impact


Internet Connectivity
  • Consider if the device requires internet connectivity. Smart thermostats, locks, lights etc. require an internet connection to be remotely controlled. (Controlled from another location).

Environmental Adaptations

  • Placement of devices and sensors should include consideration for safety and tamper resistant locations


  • Consider who should set up the device, does the vendor offer that service? Is it possible to do a train the trainer model for future installation?
  • There are many videos online to assist with setup.

On-Going Support

  • Ensure that everyone involved with the individual using the technology understands how to use it and where to go for help if and when issues arise.
  • At Ability Beyond we formed a Problem Solver group to create a consistent process for the individuals served and the staff on what to do when something is not functioning properly or for any type of question.
  • Do your staff have the correct license endorsements and insurance requirements for the vehicles they will be driving and the type of work they will doing?
  • Consider creating a resource that will provide self- help information and\or an electronic ticket/tracking system to log all concerns and questions.

Impact of Using Technology

Risk Acceptance and Backup Plan
  • Consider the behavioral, medical and\or other potential risks involved if the technology malfunctions record it in team meetings and create a documented process.
  • Consider how a caregiver get alerted that the internet is down or if the device is not functioning properly.
  • Provide a backup plan for when the technology is not working.
  • Consider whether additional staff may be needed.
  • Consider whether an extra device can quickly be installed, etc.

Individual Considerations

  • Consider sensitivities with factors such as noise, weight, lights or other sensory stimulation may make products aversive to some people.
  • Consider the impact of the use of technology on another individual’s rights or privacy.

On-Going Costs

  • Research your state’s waiver/insurance plan for coverage of monthly costs. Many waiver plans and insurance plans cover the initial device cost but they do not always cover other costs such as the monthly monitoring and\or the Intranet\cellular monthly costs.
  • Products such as med dispensers may have other costs such as specialized disposable med cups specific to that device.

Cost Considerations
  • Consider, in addition to the initial purchase price, any monthly costs, associated costs for Wi-Fi or user hardware (laptops, iPads, etc.) and installation costs
  • Consider any savings, such as staff efficiencies, while considering the offsetting costs of IT staff time
One Stop Shopping
  • Create a central place to showcase new innovations coming out
  • Show what has been piloted and the impact for the individuals
  • Videos are great, a place for staff to find assessments and address urgent needs
Define Technology Types

Define categories of technology and then each time a new device or system is identified place it in that category. This allows the team to have choices of products if one is not a good fit for an individual.

Things to Consider

  • Hold group discussions on technology
  • Think beyond the typical adaptive technology and consider the latest mainstream technology
  • Talk to individuals and teams about wishes, dreams, and needs
  • Diverse brainstorming across program types can enhance the innovative idea of technology assisting individuals
  • Showcase video clips of new innovations to spark interest

Pilot Technology
  • Piloting technology is important – It is best to have a staff or family use the technology first. Learn about our TIP Squad
  • Pilot technology with a few individuals when possible before committing to a device or system across the agency.