Dragon Anywhere blog—social service

A remedy for caseworker burnout: Real-time dictation speeds reporting in the field

Today’s caseworkers are drowning in paperwork. Heavy caseloads force them to spend long hours filling out forms and typing up reports to help their clients get the assistance and services they need. In fact, it’s estimated that child welfare workers spend 50 to 80 percent of their time on paperwork.

By Maria Cataldo

March 14, 2016

Caseworkers typically enter the social services profession to help other people. While the career can be highly rewarding, it can also be highly stressful and emotionally draining. Caseworkers must deal with heavy caseloads that can make it challenging to consistently meet all their clients’ needs day in and day out. The average caseload for a child welfare worker is between 24 and 31 children, and overall, caseloads range from 10 to 100 children per worker. On top of all that, caseworkers have to produce and file volumes of reports—for the city, for the state, for the courts—and generate referrals for evaluations and services. In the end, all this paperwork takes away from the time caseworkers can spend with their clients. A New York State Child Welfare Workload Study found that less than a fifth of caseworkers' case-related time was spent in face-to-face contact with families.

Boosting mobile documentation productivity

Writing reports and filling out forms are a critical part of the caseworker’s job, and falling behind on paperwork can have serious consequences for the individuals and families they serve. That’s why social services agencies need to equip their employees with mobile tools to speed and simplify the documentation process. Dragon Anywhere, Nuance’s new professional-grade, cloud-based mobile dictation solution, can help by empowering caseworkers to create entire reports or complete detailed forms—from visit reports, assessments, and referrals to treatment and service plans—directly on their iOS or Android device out in the field. They simply speak and see the results of their dictation or correction immediately. This enables caseworkers to make optimal use of their time in the field—whether they’re waiting outside a courtroom or sitting in their car in between client visits—to keep up with paperwork from any location.

Real-time dictation improves report detail and specificity

The reports and forms that caseworkers generate daily can have a big impact on clients’ lives. For example, home visit reports play an important role in determining whether the state should intervene to help ensure the safety and well-being of a child. Especially when the courts get involved, the detail and specificity of these reports can be critical in achieving outcomes that are in the client’s best interest. With Dragon Anywhere, caseworkers can dictate report content immediately following visits and meetings in the field—while details are still fresh in their mind—to produce more complete and accurate reports and assessments directly on their mobile devices. Plus, because Dragon Anywhere empowers caseworkers to complete documentation on the go, it helps reduce the risk of missing important report deadlines.

Time-saving customizations further speed document turnaround

The number and variety of forms that caseworkers complete in a given day is truly mind-boggling. Just imagine the productivity gains if they could quickly fill in form templates by voice while working out in the field? Dragon Anywhere makes it easy to create text blocks of standardized content in template documents that they import from the agency’s case management system or to generate the text blocks by speaking a single utterance rather than dictating the text into each individual report. Caseworkers can also create custom word lists to ensure accurate recognition of proper names, acronyms, and industry-specific terms they use every day on the job—thereby speeding up report creation and minimizing edits. They can also create custom auto-text commands for inserting standardized content—from referral contact information to follow-up procedures to signature blocks—into reports or forms with a simple spoken word or phrase.

By equipping caseworkers with a mobile productivity tool like Dragon Anywhere, agencies are taking a positive step toward curbing burnout and reducing turnover among their employees. With Dragon Anywhere, caseworkers can better keep up with paperwork and improve report detail and accuracy without having to spend long hours typing up documentation back at the office. Instead, they can complete reports by voice in the field, submit them to their supervisors for review and approval, and get back to the important business of helping individuals and families in need.

Find out how Dragon Anywhere can help caseworkers produce detailed, high-quality case documentation faster—in the office or out in the field—for higher productivity and lower stress.