Abstracts of Volume Ten of Computers in Human Services, 1993


Volume 10 (1), 1993

Guest Editorial: The Networks Are Coming by Mike Connealy


Automation: Problems and Possibilities by Elizabeth Andal Sotrentino

ABSTRACT: Record-keeping in the provision of health and human services is extensive. The tedious tasks of filling out forms, updating Kardexes, and manual handling of interdepartmental information requires a magnitude of personnel time. Thus, computerized patient care information systems have been considered by many health and human service administrators in an effort to maximize utilization of personnel resources and improve delivery of services. In fact, the Secretary's Commission on Nursing recently cited the use of computer technology as one of the three best paths to easing the country's nursing shortage. Today's human service workers are faced with serious problems of (I) providing care to increasingly complex patients in a shorter period of time, (2) administrative pressures to improve productivity and quality, and (3) 1ack of immediate solution to the personnel shortage. The alternative, automation, can minimize resources required in record-keeping and facilitate communication amongst various departments. This discussion focuses on the role automation plays in improving care delivery and problems related to implementation are explained. Strategies for dealing with impediments to automation are outlined.


Computer Diffusion and Worker Empowerment by Douglas J. Frans

ABSTRACT. Much anecdota1 material describes various human impacts of computer adoption within the social work profession, however, there is scant research which confirms or challenges these assumptions. This article describes a study which investigates the diffusion of computers into the social work profession in terms of empowerment as an individual outcome for workers. A questionnaire returned by 520 social workers provided data on organizational computer diffusion, organizational centralization, and the Social Worker Empowerment Scale. Workers in organizations where computer diffusion was more advanced, and those in more decentralized decision making environments were found to be more empowered.


The Microcomputer as a Psychotherapeutic Aid by Clifford R. Mahler and Scott T. Meier

ABSTRACT. This paper describes the efforts of a psychologist to use word processing, spreadsheet, and graphics programs as psychotherapeutic aids with chronic psychiatric patients. The basic goal was to enhance users' feelings of mastery and self-esteem. Individual and group interventions are briefly described as well as positive responses and resistance to computer use. No differences in computer utilization were found based on diagnosis, age, or educational level. Future areas of research are delineated.


Computerized Central Intake Forms: A Feasibility Study of 43 Social Service Agencies by Eric C. Albers and Ray Millar

ABSTRACT. A survey of social service agency executive &rectors was conducted to determine the feasibility of implementing a computerized central intake form to gather data and follow consumers of social welfare services. Findings indicate that 76% of the agency directors responding to the survey would be willing to participate in a community wide effort in utilizing a computer centralized intake form. Conceptual implications are discussed.


Work In Progress CASnet: Linking Child Protection Agencies Electronically by Robert J. MacFadden and Casey Pieterson


Volume 10 (2), 1993

Guest editorial: The Future of Social Service Computing by Walter Hudson


Impact of Computerized Rapid Assessment Instruments on Counselors and Client Outcome by John V. Flowers, Curtis D. Booraem, and Bernard Schwartz

ABSTRACT: The effect of the availability of Rapid Assessment Instrument (RAI) (1) computer scoring, and (2) computer administration on: (3) counselor behavior, and (4) client outcome was inspected. Counselors without computer assistance employed fewest RAT with their clients than those with computer scoring available.


Volume 10 (3), 1993

Guest editorial: Computer Literacy and Verbal Literacy by George Hoshino


A Tracking and Notification System to Support the North Carolina JOBS Evaluation by Thomas E. Meehan and Laura I. Zimmerman

ABSTRACT: An integral part of the North Carolina Job Opportunities and Basic Skills (JOBS) Program evaluation is the longitudinal tracking study. The JOBS Tracking and Notification System (JTNS) is a computer program developed to automate administration and tracking in the 12 evaluation countries. The JUNS notifies researchers of survey administration dates, tracks surveys, updates participant status, reports county performance, supports data entry from surveys, and supports numerous other administrative tasks. The notification program has helped the counties keep abreast of their progress without the burden of the administrative overhead necessary for this evaluation. The system has performed well and has heightened the interest of many counties concerning automation.


Diffusion of Computer-Mediated Communication in a Graduate Social Work Class: Lessons from "The Class from Hell" by Jean Kantambu Latting

ABSTRACT: Diffusion of innovation denotes the spread of new ideas, information, and inventions within a social system. Yet, resistance to an innovation does occur and sometimes a diffusion attempt fails completely. This article examines the attempted diffusion of the use of computer-mediated communication (CMC) using electronic mail (email) in a graduate social work class on organizational theory. Using an interpretive interactionist approach, this paper describes how latent meanings of the CMC innovation emerged and the impact these meanings had on students' acceptance of CMC as an innovation. The paper concludes with recommendations for instructors seeking to introduce CMC in their classes.


The Development of a Computerized Clinical Database in Psychiatry by Lina Jandorf, Evelyn J. Bromet, and Charles L. Rich

ABSTRACT: The development and early findings of a computerized clinical database are presented. By incorporating both clinical and research needs, a comprehensive database of all adult admissions to inpatient and outpatient psychiatric services in a university setting are recorded. The research potential of the database is illustrated by comparisons of demographic information, psychiatric history, current syrnptomatology, and DSM-III-R diagnoses for inpatients, previously hospitalized outpatients and never hospitalized outpatients. Differences detected include age at evaluation, marital status, age at first psychiatric episode, level of symptomatology, and suicide attempts. Implications of the database for research planning are discussed.


Volume 10 (4), 1993

Using Artificial Intelligence to Model Juvenile Recidivism Patterns by James D. Brodzinski, Elaine A. Crable, and Robert F. Scherer

ABSTRACT: Risk management has had a major positive impact on increasing the effectiveness of probation supervision. However, while methods and procedures for designing and implementing such a system are well known, there is still a lack of utilization among many juvenile courts. Discriminant classification and neural network models were developed to decide the set of classification variables that would significantly differentiate recidivists from non-recidivists. These models correctly differentiated between recidivists and non-recidivists in 63 percent (discriminant) and 99 percent (neural network) of the cases respectively.


Reliability of an Automated Decision Support System for Behavioral Treatment Planning: Preliminary Results from the Mental Retardation-Expert by Matthew G. Hile, Donna M. Campbell, Bagher B. Ghobary and Marcie N. Desrochers

ABSTRACT: Automated decision support systems can provide inexperienced individuals with expert advice. But while a computer will always arrive at the same conclusion from a given set of data, human users bring individual variability to decision making. This study, therefore, examined the reliability of the decision support component of an expert system, The Mental Retardation-Expert (MR-E), which assists clinicians who treat problem behaviors of individuals with mental retardation or developmental disabilities. Four clinicians independently used MR-E to obtain consultations.


From Supply Driven to Demand Driven Education: New Conceptions and the Role of Information Technology Therein by Paul A. Kirschner and Martin M.A. Valcke

ABSTRACT: The evolution of education from supply driven (what the institution offers) towards demand driven (what the student wants) needs to be understood in the larger context of societal, economic, political, scientific and technological developments. Supply driven education is presently reinforced by the small set of available "technologies." The central ideas of new educational theorists focusing on demand driven education seem to get realized thanks to a combination of emerging information technology (IT) provisions and new didactic insights into their use. Examples of IT-based demand driven educational provisions at the Open university of the Netherlands (OuN) where this type of education is being developed and implemented, are presented.


Soft Computing for Soft Technologies: Artificial Neural Networks and Fuzzy Set Theory for Human Services by Jan Steyaert

ABSTRACT: This article outlines the basic concepts of neural networks, gives information on the presently available hardware and software and discusses the possible implications of this technology for the human services and service provision.

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