Client information systems’ support for case-based social work: experiences of Finnish social workers

Samuel Salovaara, Katri Ylönen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

In recent years, Finland has seen extensive development in the area of social and healthcare information management aimed at harmonizing client information systems (CISs) and ways of documenting client information. The developments aim to support the utilization of recorded information at different levels of service systems, including the level of social work practice. This article investigates the relationship between social work practice and the use of CISs by answering the following question: To what extent do CISs support case-based social work in Finland? Social work is approached as a knowledge-intensive practice in which CISs have become increasingly important for managing case work. The research question is considered in relation to recent national developments in social and healthcare information management. The study uses survey data from a subpopulation of social workers (n = 309) working in municipal social services and combines quantitative and qualitative data. The findings reveal that current CISs do not offer sufficient support for case-based social work. Although CISs serve reasonably well for storing and documenting case-based information, they generally serve social workers poorly in terms of providing them with the tools they need to understand cases in their entirety and form comprehensive knowledge for their practice. To provide adequate CISs that support case-based social work, it is necessary to see social workers as active users of information and understand the role of CISs in the knowledge formation process in social work.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNordic Social Work Research
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2021
MoEC publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • client information system
  • case-based social work
  • Client informatinformation management
  • Finland

Field of science

  • Social work

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