Blog

Our blog isn’t about us. It’s about you. We discuss business challenges and real issues human service agencies and caseworkers face everyday. You’ll find traditional human services software articles about things like document management for human services and social work technology. But you’ll also find inspirational stories to boost caseworkers’ spirits and tools to help agencies find and gain support for technology in human services.

Team Northwoods's Articles

Team Northwoods
Our team of human services experts cover key topics and trends impacting the industry and help agencies gain support for modern technology solutions.
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Posted Tuesday, June 5, 2018 by Team Northwoods

Is Your Economic Assistance Program Using the Right Document Capture Tools?

Editor’s note: Modern technology can help make the information you capture more searchable, discoverable, and useable to help others. Read our new post, Not Your Average Electronic Document Management System, to learn more about what features to look for when you modernize.

Economic assistance caseworkers face constant deadlines to process applications and redeterminations.

However, outdated, inefficient document management tools and processes often get in the way, which can delay clients from receiving the benefits they need.

This could leave them feeling frustrated and vulnerable. Of course, that’s the opposite of what caseworkers are aiming to do.

The good news? The right technology can help alleviate these problems, allowing caseworkers to serve their clients quickly and professionally and start them on the path to stability and well-being.

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Posted Monday, May 7, 2018 by Team Northwoods

Traverse: Transforming How Human Services Agencies Work with Families

"I'm big on efficiencies and using technology. If you're not using the latest and greatest software, you're behind." – Justin Zmyewski, Houston County (Minnesota) Commissioner

For Northwoods, the “latest and greatest software” means something that’s designed to work the way child welfare and adult & aging agencies work.

That’s why we created Traverse®—a content collection and case discovery solution to empower child welfare and adult & aging caseworkers with the right information at the right time to make informed, confident decisions.

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Posted Tuesday, March 27, 2018 by Team Northwoods

Celebrating Social Work Month

Social workers are superheroes. Here at Northwoods, we wholeheartedly believe that. In honor of Social Work Month, we want to take a minute to say thank you to all of the brave and amazing social workers and caseworkers who inspire change, no matter how small, every day.

Since this year's theme is "Social Workers: Leaders. Advocates. Champions," we're sharing some of the best things we've heard about what motivates social workers to help vulnerable kids and families overcome some of life's toughest challenges. 

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Posted Wednesday, March 7, 2018 by Team Northwoods

Solving Social Problems: Q&A with Chief Technology Officer Don Abney

Don Abney, Northwoods’ Chief Technology Officer, has spent the last 20 years developing and delivering technology services across several industries. He’s also one of the smartest humans you’ll ever meet.

Don recently sat down with our Business Development team to answer some questions about how Product Delivery (PD) at Northwoods continues to evolve and innovate to meet customers' needs.

His answers were just too good not to share!

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Posted Wednesday, December 20, 2017 by Team Northwoods

Top 7 Northwoods Blog Posts of 2017

It's that time again! As each year comes to a close, we like to recap the top blog posts from the last 365 days. If you're a new reader or subscriber, this is your chance to catch up on all the good stuff you might have missed.

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Posted Monday, December 4, 2017 by Team Northwoods

Celebrating 10 Years of Community Contributions

“Jessica and I were finishing up some Christmas shopping and this guy pulled out a credit card and paid for our purchase. His name is Jeff and his company Northwoods lets them do these random acts of kindness. They just became our Christmas miracle.”

This is the story of one family the Northwoods Foundation helped this past Christmas as part of its “Layaway Payoff”—an annual program meant to spread Christmas cheer to local families.

However, the “random” act of kindness shared in this story really wasn’t so random at all. It’s one of many ways the Northwoods Foundation provides a platform for Northwoods employees to give back and help fulfill a big mission: work together to leave a lasting and meaningful impact on the world. It exemplifies what the Northwoods Foundation is all about—helping people and communities in need.

This year marks the Foundation’s 10th anniversary, and we’re celebrating with a look back at some notable contributions and stories from the last 10 years.

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Posted Thursday, October 19, 2017 by Team Northwoods

What Cognitive Search Means for Social Services

Not too long ago, we were talking to a protective services caseworker who summed up one of the most common issues we hear from customers—not enough time to explore, digest, and understand critical information about a case before they can actually start managing it.

"I'm new and I'm getting cases that are transferred from another ongoing worker. A lot of my time is just spent trying to understand the case. I feel like I'm wasting a lot of time I could be doing actual interactions or providing services for the family."

We also heard from a Child Welfare program manager one of the biggest risks of not having all the critical information related to a case in front of you when making a decision: "Trying to serve on memory is dangerous in our line of work."

What do these two scenarios have in common? They both underscore the importance of having critical, relevant information in a digestible format at your fingertips when serving families. Cognitive search is an emerging trend that’s helping social services agencies do just that.

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Posted Thursday, September 28, 2017 by Team Northwoods

What Causes Dark Data in Adult & Aging and Why Do You Need It?

As the population ages, more older adults are accessing services at an alarming rate. Increased demand for services leads to collecting more content in the form of notes, forms, and documents. Every piece of content has the potential to contain critical information about a case, but it gets buried deeper and deeper in the file as new information gets added.

No adult & aging, mental health, or long-term care social worker realistically has time to digest and apply the amount of both current and past information available to them, and “dark data”—critical, but hidden information—gets created as a result.

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Posted Tuesday, August 1, 2017 by Team Northwoods

Pitfalls of Relying on Too Much Paper in Human Services

Going paperless is a priority for plenty of human services agencies, yet many organizations lack funding, resources, or proper justification to invest in technology and are forced to continue relying on time-consuming, labor-intensive, paper-based file systems and processes.

For those readers that fall into the latter, consider this: maintaining the status quo could actually be doing more harm than good—and costing more—to your agency in the long run.

Below are five risks to think about if your agency relies too much on paper documents and manual processes.

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Posted Tuesday, June 6, 2017 by Team Northwoods

Call to Action: Improving IT Procurement in Human Services

Government’s IT procurement process is under fire.

For starters, it’s rigorous, antiquated, and time-consuming—a sentiment that rings true whether you’re the program administrator requesting technology, the state official managing access to the technology, or the provider, like us, working diligently to get your technology in agencies’ hands to help them help others.

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