Tuesday, December 28, 2010

SWT: Technology Takes on Social Work

In the November/December 2010 issue of Social Work Today, there is a feature article on the fusion of social work and technology.
Let’s face it: Technology is transforming how people collect and share information and social workers who refuse to acknowledge this trend risk falling out of step with the profession. But organizations that impose data management technology without taking clinicians’ needs into account risk creating systems that bog down social work rather than enhance it.

“The technology is here. You’re going to have to use it, and it’s not going away,” says Mike Meikle, a Virginia-based IT consultant with experience serving the human services sector. “But managers can’t just implement this in a vacuum; they have to include their people in the process. You have to make sure that your users are on board and that they understand how it’s going to benefit them.”

Nevertheless, there is some resistance among social workers in adopting data management information systems in their work. Do you believe these systems benefit or burden social workers?

1 comment:

Mike said...

I believe it will initially be a burden on social workers with the benefits coming at a later date, depending on the environment.
In my experience, a large portion of the social worker population has limited experience with work flow and data management systems. So moving from a primarily paper-based to software-based environment will cause some significant growing pains. However, once the transition is made, the ability more effectively manage caseloads, pull historical client data or complete forms, reports and letters electronically will be a key selling point.
Another industry that is facing this issue is Health Care, with the move to Electronic Medical Records (EMR). Of course this move has been dictated by the Federal Government via the HITRUST Act, so they are being pushed to comply. Hopefully the social services profession can make the transition voluntarily.
Thank you for blogging my contribution to the Social Work Today article.

Mike Meikle