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Interesting Ways Technology Is Shaping Social Work

Technological advances have expanded the methods and tools social workers have to support their clients and manage social work practices.

As in nearly every profession and industry, technology has greatly changed the way social workers practice, particularly in interacting with clients and managing client information. Technology has also influenced how social workers learn how to become a social worker and how experienced professionals stay up to date in the field.

Thanks to online technology and the internet, social workers can now more easily communicate with clients without the need to commute or travel. Some examples of ways social workers are using technology for client work include:

Interesting Ways Technology Is Shaping Social Work

Online counseling: Clinical social workers are conducting virtual counseling sessions using the telephone, videoconferencing, web-based platforms, and live-chat technology such as FaceTime and Skype.1

These technologies make it more convenient for both the social worker and the client, eliminating the time and cost associated with traveling while enabling “face-to-face” time with clients.

Managing client information: Technology also helps with day-to-day tasks such as taking and managing client notes. Social workers can create, track, and organize notes through technologies ranging from spreadsheets, to specific note software programs such as ColorNote, to sophisticated project management software.2 Collaboration software such as Google Docs and Google Sheets makes it easier to share resources and edit documents as a team.

At the agency level, technology is used to manage and supervise social workers in varying locations through videoconferencing technology.1 Technology is also used to manage organizational finances and budgets2 as well as access and safeguard information about clients through encrypted electronic records, which allows for storage of private information on smartphones and in the “cloud.”1

Educating social workers: Educational institutions and internal training departments use technology to educate and train new social workers through online courses. Experienced social workers can access continuing education opportunities live online or at their convenience through recorded videos, webinars, or podcasts.

Finally, social workers are able to keep up on the latest peer-reviewed research and learn what their peers are doing through online resources such as blogs and social media, and online newsletters produced by professional organizations like the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) and the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB).2

Concerns About Technological Advances

Although technology has eased the process of managing and delivering social work services, major concerns include:2

  • Data security: It’s imperative that client information be safe from hackers, servers are secure and reliable, and plans are in place to deal with security breaches.
  • Confidentiality of records: Social workers must comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act’s section requiring client record privacy and protection.
  • Lost records: Strong backup systems must be in place to ensure restorability of records in case of technological error or breakdown.

Technology Guidelines for Social Workers

The four leading social worker associations—NASW, ASWB, the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), and the Clinical Social Work Association (CSWA)—developed Standards for Technology in Social Work Practice to give social workers practical and ethical guidance for using technology in such areas as providing information to the public, designing and delivering services, and handling client information.1

The standards are designed to assist social workers in areas such as:3

  • Ensuring quality of technology-related social work services.
  • Integrating technology into their offerings.
  • Assessing the way technology is being used in providing their services.
  • Educating clients, government regulatory boards, insurance carriers, and other stakeholders about the professional standards related to the use of technology in social work services.

Today’s social workers are encouraged to embrace technology to better serve their clients and to improve efficiency of management processes. Social work experts now consider technical literacy a competency that every social worker needs to have.3

How a Social Work Degree Can Help

If you’re interested in advancing your social work career while getting the most out of technological advances, consider exploring Walden University’s online Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) or Master of Social Work program. Walden’s online social work degree programs are accredited by CSWE, a specialized accrediting body that develops standards that define competent preparation for professional social workers and ensures that BSW and MSW programs meet these standards.

If you’re concerned that you don’t have time to earn a social worker degree, a bachelor’s or master’s in social work online degree program may be the answer. An online format allows you to study and complete coursework in a way that fits your schedule, as you continue your social work practice.

Earning an online bachelor’s or master’s degree in social work can enable you to better meet client needs in an evolving and high-demand field.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering CSWE-accredited Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) and Master of Social Work (MSW) programs online. Expand your career options and earn your degree using a convenient, flexible learning platform that fits your busy life.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering CSWE-accredited Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) and Master of Social Work (MSW) programs online. Expand your career options and earn your degree using a convenient, flexible learning platform that fits your busy life.

Source: www.socialworkers.org/includes/newIncludes/homepage/PRA-BRO-33617.TechStandards_FINAL_POSTING.pdf
Source: https://onlineprograms.ollusa.edu/msw/resources/how-social-workers-use-technology
Source: https://mswcareers.com/technology-and-the-future-of-social-work/

Walden University's Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) and Master of Social Work (MSW) programs are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), a specialized accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). CSWE’s Commission on Accreditation is responsible for developing standards that define competent preparation for professional social workers and ensuring that social work programs meet these standards.

Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.

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