Abstracts of Volume 14 (1,2,3/4) of Computers in Human Services, 1997

Volume 14(1), 1997

Developing and implementing the Integrated Information System for Foster Care and Adoption by Daphna Oyserman, University of Michigan <daphna@umich.edu> and Rami Benbenishty, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, <"msrami"@pluto.mscc.huji.ac.il>

KEYWORD: information system implementation, costs and benefits, child welfare

ABSTRACT: Information is normally collected to monitor a situation, communicate about it, and gain expertise over time. Yet, current information collection and handling practices in social service settings leads to problems in agencies' abilities competently perform these functions. We propose a conceptual framework to improve this situation. Focus is on bringing expertise to the front line; meeting information needs at all agency levels; and meeting reporting requirements to the state and federal government. As an example of the way the framework is used, we present the Integrated Information for Foster Care and Adoption (IIS-FCA) implemented in child welfare agencies in Michigan. The paper discusses costs and benefits associated with the IIS-FCA.

An Experimental Evaluation of HyperCDTX: Multimedia Substance Abuse Treatment Education Software by David A. Patterson <dap@utkux.utcc.utk.edu>, Lisa Pullen, Eric Evers, Denice L. Champlin, Ranae Ralson

KEYWORDS: hypermedia, HyperCDTX, computer-based education

ABSTRACT: Nurses and social workers are often the first health care providers to encounter patients entering the health care system. Content specific to assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of substance abuse has long been neglected in the curricula of nursing and social work. A joint endeavor between faculty and graduate students in social work, nursing, and computer science resulted in the development of a hypermedia, interactive computer program, HyperCDTX, for the conveyance of knowledge and training of skills in assessment, diagnosis, and treatment in substance abuse. This study tested HyperCDTX's instructional efficacy and measured changes in subjectsÕ attitudes and beliefs about computer based education. Seventy-three graduate and undergraduate students in social work and nursing participated in an evaluation of HyperCDTX that used a modified pretest-post control group experimental design. The results indicated no differences between the control and experimental groups in knowledge and skills of substance abuse treatment. This finding was confounded by the fact that despite the use of random assignment, the control group had significantly more graduate students, years of education, and years of social work experience. Subjects had a significant change in their attitudes and beliefs about value of computer based education in their professions as a result of using HyperCDTX. Additionally, subjects offered strong support for the ease of use, "user friendliness", understandability, and accessibility of information contained in HyperCDTX. The findings of this study demonstrate the complexity involved in the evaluation of hypermedia, interactive software using an experimental design in a laboratory setting. Despite this fact, participantsÕ evaluation of the software support itÕs potential value in the provision of knowledge and skills in substance abuse treatment education.

Limited Access: The Information Superhighway And Ohio's Neighborhood-Based Organizations-The Urban University And Neighborhood Network by Randy Stoecker <rstoeck@pop3.utoledo.edu> and Angela c. S. Stuber

KEYWORDS: computers, Internet, community organizations, neighborhoods

ABSTRACT: Of 189 Ohio urban neighborhood-based organizations (NBOs) responding to a survey, only three have full access to the Internet. At the same time, they have many information needs that can be met best through the Internet. The small size and small budgets of many NBOs (only about half of Ohio's NBOs have budgets greater than $100,000) make it difficult for them to acquire adequate computer technology, learn how to use it for Internet access, and make the most of that access. Additionally, most NBOs--even those in working and middle class neighborhoods--need training and technical assistance especially for advanced applications such as telecommunications and Geographic Information Systems software. Internet access needs to be more uniformly available and affordable to NBOs. Finally, we need to continually think of the Internet as a resource, not a substitute, for local communities.

Social Workers On-Line: A Profile by Lisa Marlowe-Carr <MarlowCarr@aol.com>

KEYWORDS: On-line usage, Internet, social worker

ABSTRACT: This study provides a profile of social workers who utilize on-line services. On-line social worker demographics are compared to those of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW). Satisfaction with on-line training and resources was assessed and suggestions were solicited. Subjects were asked to describe their vision of future on-line applications. Participants were 162 social workers solicited from 32 on-line discussion groups. Notable differences were found in the demographics comparison and in the on-line usage of social workers in university and non-university settings and in gender. Limitations are discussed and future research recommendations are made.

Volume 14(2), 1997

A Model for the Computerized Allocation of Personnel Resources Among Local Bureaus by a Municipal Department of Social Services by Nachshon Margaliot <margaln1@ashur.cc.biu.ac.il>

KEYWORDS: Resource Allocation, Personnel Planning, Human Resources Planning, Decision Support Systems.

ABSTRACT: The allocation of resources among various organizational units is a complex subject for many organizations. In the absence of objective, established tools for the distribution of such resources, the impression arises that allocations resources are made on the basis of personal ties, persuasion, and pressures exerted upon management; in consequence, it is often felt that the decisions made do not reflect the organization’s true needs. Such an atmosphere surrounding the issue of resource allocations, whether human or financial, is unhealthy (as is to be expected) because it arouses feelings of deprivation and is therefore counterproductive. The introduction of computerized management programs into Tel-Aviv—Yafo’s Municipal Department of Social Services presented an opportunity to construct a computerized model to assist in the optimal and equitable allocation of personnel resources among its local bureaus. The model was based on reports forwarded by the local bureau staffs regarding their case loads as well as on a group-based process in which local managers determined the relevant criteria for investing personnel resources. In addition to supporting decisions regarding the annual reallocation of personnel, the model also improves the analysis of internal allocation of personnel resources and provides a basis for long-term oversight and control. The paper describes the development of the computerized model under discussion.

Journey to the Brave New World of Data Automation Technology—Are We Ready? By David Moyer <dmoyer@mail.telis.org>

KEYWORDS: Practice Management Software, Contractor-Paradigm, User Paradigm, User-Consultant Paradigm, business process improvements

ABSTRACT. Data automation technology presents formidable challenges and tremendous opportunities for managers of human service agencies. By the time decision makers commit funds to develop practice management software they have already selected one of three development paradigms postulated in this article. When decision makers reflexively select one of these, the "Contractor-Paradigm," without considering other development paradigms, they may be laying the groundwork for outcomes that are not necessarily utilitarian for the intended software users or cost effective for the organization. The author advocates for the "User-Consultant" paradigm because of distinct advantages it offers over other development models. Examples of software development projects in different human service agencies will illustrate key points. It is difficult to achieve the benefits of this paradigm without addressing systemic obstacles that prevent its use. Decision makers in smaller organizations can generally utilize this paradigm more easily than in large organizations. Whether the agency employs 15 or 1500 human service professionals, an increased role for users will improve the likelihood of obtaining and supporting utilitarian, cost effective management information systems.

A Selective History of Internet Technology and Social Work by Stephen M. Marson, PhD <marson@papa.uncp.edu>

KEYWORDS: Internet, History, Social Work, Computers

ABSTRACT: "Organized chaos" is the theme of the short history of the Internet and social work. It is a history of paradoxes. Although there are many paths to follow the historical influence of the Internet for social work, this essay notes that the Internet was born from a military strategy. Decades later, social work education and practice employed this massive network. This essay traces the unlikely link among the original military agenda, astounding engineering feats, online social interaction action, and social work education and practice. A short glossary is provided to readers unfamiliar with technical terms.

Volume 14(3/4), 1997

The history and function of the Target Cities management information systems: An introduction to the special issue by Matthew G. Hile, Ph.D. Research Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Neurology, University of Missouri-Columbia at the Missouri Institute of Mental Health, St. Louis, MO.

KEYWORDS: MIS, substance abuse, computer, client-treatment matching

ABSTRACT: The Center for Substance Abuse Treatment’s Target Cities initiative seeks to improve the coordination of public substance abuse services in a variety of large metropolitan areas across the United States. As part of that effort, each Target Cities project developed an information system designed to collect client specific assessment information, match individuals to appropriate treatments, and track the results of those treatments. This article describes the assumptions underlying the project and introduces the concepts used in all of the specific Target Cities projects. It also provides the basis for comparing the individual city’s MIS systems described in this special issue.

Development and Use of Information Systems in the Cleveland Target Cities Demonstration Project by Russell S. Kaye, Richard C. Stephens, Huey T. Chen, and William J. Bruno

KEYWORDS: Target Cities, Evaluation of Substance Abuse Treatment, Clinical Records Information Systems, Automated Client Tracking, Automated Chemical Dependency Assessment, Managed Care.

ABSTRACT: The Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services Board of Cuyahoga County (Cleveland, Ohio) implemented a five-year Target Cities project in 1993 funded by the federal Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. Three central intake sites provide rapid assessment, referral, and care management. Project operations are supported by a centralized information system, providing business and clinical records applications and slot management and client tracking in a network of 30 providers. A PC-based comprehensive assessment instrument, providing a diagnosis and level of care recommendation and a narrative summary, is also available. These systems also provide research data for local and national Target Cities evaluation efforts and promote local readiness for managed care technology. A telecommunications system also assists in the management of client care. Systems development is described and lessons learned are offered.

Dallas Target Cities Safety Network Management Information System by Martin A. Krepcho, Ph.D., Bryan J. Marks, M.S., Dian Uher Garnett, Laura Snell, M.P.H.,Lois Olson, M.S.W.

KEYWORDS: MIS, substance abuse, computer, client-treatment matching

ABSTRACT: The Dallas Target Cities Project, the Dallas Safety Net, links two intake agencies with thirteen treatment providers to offer a comprehensive range of substance abuse treatment services. Using a Lotus Notes platform with its data replication approach, the MIS links these agencies together providing assessment, case management, referral, and billing services. In addition to describing the development and structure of the system the lesson we learned while creating a integrated system are discussed.

Development Of The Detroit Target Cities Management Information System by J. Randall Thompson, MD, Thomas C. Tucker, MPH, Phyllis Zold-Kilbourn

KEYWORDS: MIS, substance abuse, computer, client-treatment matching

ABSTRACT: The Detroit Target City project was developed on a previously existing central intake system. The management information system, developed using a terminal-host model with a character based user interface, supports client treatment matching, treatment slot management, and case management tools. In addition to describing the system and its development lessons learned in the creation and implementation of the system are discussed.

The New Orleans Patient Tracking System (PTS): Data Management for a Network of Community-Based Alcohol and Drug Treatment Providers by James M. Becnel, M.S.W., Scott Ray, Ph.D., Thomas M. Wolf, Ph.D., Tracy Lotten, M.A., Joshua Williams, Jr., B.S., Jacques J. Detiege, M.A., Willie Gable, Jr., M.P.H., M. Div., D.D,

KEYWORDS: Substance abuse treatment, computer networks, evaluation, assessment, community based systems

ABSTRACT: The New Orleans Patient Tracking System is a software system on an INFORMIX platform which operates in a UNIX environment on dual Data General file servers. The system networks 15 alcohol and drug treatment service delivery units and four central intake units, two of which are located in criminal justice agencies. These agencies are linked through a wide area network based on primary rate interface and integrated system digital network communications technology. This management information system supports centralized intake, standardized assessment, slot management, patient-program matching, patient tracking and self-corrective program evaluation for the network of drug treatment providers. These system features are discussed in detail.

Management Information System Development for the Substance Abuse Treatment System: The Portland Target City Experience by Reynold Branche, Nancy Barron <nancy.m.barron@co.multnomah.or.us> Maureen H. Rumptz, Elinor M. Dempsey, and Norma D. Jaeger,

KEYWORDS: MIS, substance abuse, computer, client-treatment matching

ABSTRACT: The Portland Target City Project has implemented a comprehensive management information system that creates a wide area network linking central intake and all service delivery units in the public alcohol and drug treatment system. This system provides the infrastructure to facilitate automated client assessment, referral, and service tracking. Using Client/Server technology with extensive graphical elements, the information system also supports management and planning for the overall treatment system, Medicaid managed care efforts, and extensive program evaluation efforts.

St. Louis Target City Information System by Matthew G. Hile, Ph.D. <mimhmh@showme.missouri.edu>, Jayne M. Callier, M.S., M.B.A., Jim Schmoock, Rita E. Adkins, M.P.H., and Dong Cho, Ph.D.

KEYWORDS: MIS, substance abuse, assessment, client-therapist matching

ABSTRACT: In 1993, St. Louis was awarded a cooperative agreement to develop a centralized intake system which would serve as a single entry point to all of the publicly funded adult substance abuse treatment centers in St. Louis City and County. This article follows the development of the information system established to meet these goals, from conceptualization to implementation. The obstacles encountered during the development are discussed, along with the current design of the system that has been instituted statewide.

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