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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.

Posted Tuesday, October 23, 2018 by Rupam Chokshi

Building Better, Faster, More Impactful Solutions for Human Services

At Northwoods, we talk a lot about “designing solutions around you.” But, what does that really mean?

As one of APHSA’s 2018 Emerging Leaders, I was invited to give a presentation at the annual ISM conference showcasing something that Northwoods has done to advance health and human services (HHS).

I chose to share a methodology that is at the core of how we operate and do business.

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Posted Friday, September 14, 2018 by Team Northwoods

Health and Human Services Technology for High-Value Work (Q&A with Rupam Chokshi, 2018 APHSA Emerging Leader)

Rupam Chokshi, director of product marketing, has been an integral part of our organization for many years and continues to help us grow and improve. His in-depth knowledge of the health and human services (HHS) sector, modernization of technology, and improvement of business processes is a key factor in Northwoods’ ability to build software solutions that are designed around solving state and local HHS agencies’ most important problems. 

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Posted Wednesday, August 29, 2018 by Rupam Chokshi

Tech Talk 101: 30 Child Welfare Technology and Business Terms to Know

Child welfare technology is constantly evolving: trends ebb and flow, policies and mandates change, and new tools become available seemingly every day.

Beyond changing how work gets done, it’s also changing the way you talk about it—both about your challenges and how technology can be used to help solve them.

We’ve compiled a list of terms you’ve likely heard in conversation or come across in practice articles related to technology, along with their definitions, how they relate to each other, and what they mean for child welfare.

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Posted Tuesday, June 5, 2018 by Rich Diers

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 Wednesday, May 9, 2018 by Rupam Chokshi

5 Ways a System of Engagement Benefits Child Welfare

Modernizing to the new Comprehensive Child Welfare Information System (CCWIS) creates a major opportunity for child welfare organizations to apply innovative solutions to overcome systematic barriers.

However, too many states and agencies may still view CCWIS as the next Statewide Automated Child Welfare Information System (SACWIS) with little change.

Where SACWIS was more of a “one-size-fits-all” model, CCWIS allows agencies to tailor their IT needs to align with their unique program requirements.

This opens the door for child welfare organizations to consider next-generation technology, like a system of engagement, that revolutionizes how social workers deliver services and interact with clients.

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Posted Monday, May 7, 2018 by Rich Bowlen

Traverse: Transforming the Way Child Welfare and Adult & Aging Agencies Work with Families to Improve Outcomes

"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 Wednesday, March 7, 2018 by Team Northwoods

Building Software to Solve Social Problems (Q&A with Northwoods 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 Wednesday, October 25, 2017 by Aaron Caldwell

Troubleshooting Technology Problems in Human Services [Customer Support Success Story]

Editor's note: since this story was originally published, Northwoods partnered with the state of Ohio to implement an enterprise document management system (EDMS) across all 88 counties. We continue to support Lucas County DJFS through the statewide EDMS (versus individually when this story was published).

When the average worker has technical issues, he or she feels frustrated and productivity dips. When a human services caseworker faces technical issues, it affects his or her ability to serve thousands of families who rely on services like Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and Medicaid. This is the story of one Ohio county’s Department of Job & Family Services (DJFS) that relies on the Northwoods Support Center (NSC) to keep the system running at peak performance so workers can focus solely on helping clients.

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Posted Thursday, October 19, 2017 by Rich Diers

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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