Adobe seeks social workers’ input on new mobile tools

By Paul R. Pace, News staff

Adobe Systems is a California software company known for popular software products like Photoshop and Illustrator, but it also has a hand in helping social workers and caseworkers simplify their job duties.

Adobe recently teamed up with NASW’s Specialty Practice Sections to host a webinar to seek social workers’ input on the next generation of mobile productivity tools. In return, participants were offered a peek into the ways Adobe is working on products that aid human service workers and their clients.

Michael Jackson, director of Adobe’s public sector and health care strategy, said the company has a history of working with human service agencies to improve their services. One of the company’s success stories is the Illinois Department of Human Services. Adobe says its products have saved the largest public agency in Illinois more than $1 million annually by transitioning 1,000 paper forms to interactive Adobe PDF forms that people can fill out online or offline using Adobe Reader software. The forms are available to the department case managers via the agency’s intranet and many forms are available to anyone on the agency’s public website.

With the advent of cloud computing, Adobe has formulated products that can be used across multiple devices, allowing social workers and caseworkers the ability to use smartphones and tablet computers that can transmit data from the field to the office.

The company’s software can reduce redundant user inputs and the chances for mistakes on forms as well, Jackson said. This can help social workers and caseworkers speed through administrative burdens, opening up more time for clients, he said.

Jackson offered some examples of how mobile computing can benefit social workers and caseworkers. A caseworker can use a smartphone to take pictures of potential abuse, recording the time and date, as well as time stamp when he or she arrived and left a site visit. A device can also help find the nearest shelter or locate potential sex offenders in a certain area.

“It’s about lightening the caseworkers’ workload to focus more on the client,” Jackson said.

Yvette Mulkey, manager of NASW Specialty Practice Sections, said members eagerly signed on to participate in the webinar.

“I believe they were excited about being given the opportunity to shape technology in some way that would benefit social workers and help their clients,” she said.

From the September 2013 NASW News.

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