Having spent much of my career in the tech world, I realized that the social work field has not embraced technology much. Some nonprofits and agencies are still using paper charts and files! Unfortunately, this puts agencies at a disadvantage. There is so much to gain from moving from paper to digital files, although, yes, there are risks and high costs. Adhering to HIPAA and keeping confidentiality are also major concerns to social workers of all kinds.
The most active tech social workers seem to work in policy or macro social work, perhaps because there are clear benefits to using social media to raise awareness and join the digital conversation around things like social justice or mental health.
I have even noticed that many social workers do not use social media, like Facebook or Twitter much. There are some tech-savvy social workers of course, who blog or even host their own podcasts. But for the most part, social workers are not well represented online.
I’ve been using Twitter for many years and have started following some really great social workers. (I will highlight some tech-savvy social workers in future posts.)
What about other types of technology for social work? How are social workers using tech for work?