It is no secret that a mobile device would help in coordinating client cases while in the field. For case managers, finding out who else is working with a client, and being able to communicate with them while respecting confidentiality rules, overcomes many industry barriers. Just think for a minute about how having access to a secure software program using a tablet or smartphone helps with documentation. Winona County Community Services, MN deployed a mobile solution and estimated savings of two hours a day per caseworker. I’m sure with mobile tools many agencies will see an improvement in the accuracy of managers’ submitted notes and they will make it easier to respond in the field to emails from the admin office in a timely manner, and reduce the time spent chasing down other professionals by phone.
Productivity features can decrease the amount of time case managers spend on completing administrative tasks, so they have more time to engage with clients for better outcomes. These administrative functions can be performed in the field while waiting for the next appointment, otherwise wasted time.
In "Mobility is Changing the Face of Social Work," ("Policy & Practice" Aug 2014) Rich Bowlen reports that "less time spent on paperwork means less stress for social workers”. Beaufort County Department of Social Services (DSS) in North Carolina found that with reduced stress, staff turnover was reduced by 13%. That reduced training costs and provides better continuity of care.
When new clients are enrolled, they usually require a rapid response, since it is a crisis that triggered involvement. Mobility tools can help with onboarding, by reducing the time it takes for a professional to engage with the client. The professional can learn more about the client avoiding the client’s information being sent by email. The professional is better prepared for that crucial first client meeting.
The end of each month always brings a barrage of requests from other professionals for client status to complete their monthly reports, but our daily work of appointments doesn’t stop for month end. If those same mobile tools allow cross-agency information-sharing, our colleagues could fetch the selected information themselves, saving both of us some time. It can break down the silos at a caseworker to caseworker level, without having to spend a lot of money on IT integration. Though the reality is we can’t be in all places at one time, we can make it easier to fulfill other agency requests utilizing a secure information-sharing platform and mobile devices.
By: OluMayowa Ojemuyiwa