Caseworkers spend long hours coordinating the delivery of critical services across a vast social services network of private, public, not-for-profit and philanthropic organizations. Navigating this web of often disparate services successfully and turning information into an effective care plan generates a mountain of documentation. New mobile tools can help.
On any given day, the work of a social services caseworker can involve navigating state and federal bureaucracies, interacting with the courts, advocating for services on behalf of clients, to helping families in crisis coordinate access to care across a myriad of private and public sector organizations. This produces an immense amount of information that must be accurately documented and efficiently moved across disparate organizations and platforms.
It’s not surprising that the demand for tools to help with case management is growing, with the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) even providing uniform technology standards to help guide caseworkers in their daily use of technology.
It’s at this juncture, where technology – including smart tools like professional grade mobile dictation apps – can help caseworkers capture, distribute and share information into an auditable service care plan. Here’s how.
They help manage communication more effectively
Whether documenting client assessments, creating routine visit reports, sending emails, completing forms, or applying for programs on behalf of clients, caseworkers need to create, manage, and share documentation, in the office or out in the field. These mobile documentation tools enable dictation on smartphones or tablets, which can then be easily transferred to other applications – be it Microsoft Word, an e-mail document or even a text-box within a web-form. Caseworkers can make better use of their time, and, also share information across a variety of platforms or applications and, ultimately, spend more time working with clients.
They help reduce time spent on paperwork
Business professionals can spend upwards of 50% of an average workday on paperwork. For caseworkers, this includes a variety of forms and other mandated documentation. Much of this results from piecing together care plans from disparate social resources – yet these loosely connected organizations often seek the same information, sometimes repeatedly. Smart mobile tools, like speech recognition solutions, can help boost productivity by allowing them to navigate and fill in forms by voice in real-time. In addition, frequently used blocks of text – like a client assessment template – can be imported from the agency’s case management system and invoked by speaking a single utterance like “insert client assessment,” further reducing time spent on paperwork, while helping to ensure consistent client documentation is produced.
They provide real-time access to information in the field
By definition, caseworkers spend much of their time in the field assisting clients – yet are very much connected to the home office. Documentation started in the office on a desktop computer might need to be completed in the field on a tablet or vice-versa. In addition, because caseworkers create, access and store documentation across a spectrum of online systems and services, it is beneficial to have as much documentation in as few places as possible. They may also maintain supporting documentation in cloud platforms like Dropbox, Evernote or OneDrive. Today’s smart mobile dictation tools help caseworkers seamlessly synchronize work and make it accessible anytime and from anywhere.
They enable agency-wide dissemination of documentation standards
Ensuring documents like a client intake form are up-to-date and includes fields to capture the most current legally mandated information is critical. Professional grade mobile dictation solutions allow form-based templates to be created in a few steps and then disseminated throughout the agency with a mouse-click. Distributing critical documentation this way via a centralized management platform ensures version control, and the forms can be invoked by simply speaking a command like “insert agency disclosure #23”.
Mobile documentation tools accomplish more than just speeding documentation– they help improve documentation accuracy and efficiency, ensure clients receive the services they need across the social services ecosystem and can reduce paperwork burnout.