Social welfare professionals’ experiences on client information systems in 2020
Keywords:social welfare, information systems, user-centered design, surveys and questionnaires
This article examines the experiences of client information systems (CISs) used by social welfare professionals with at least a bachelor-level education. The purpose of the article is to evaluate the realisation of the objectives of the eHealth and eSocial Strategy 2020 from the perspective of social welfare professionals and to produce brand-specific information about user experiences to support future development of CISs. The research question is: What kind of assessments do social welfare professionals with at least a bachelor-level education provide about the CISs they used in 2020, based on their user experiences? The study utilises survey data (n=990) gathered in the STePS 3.0 project in September–October 2020 in cooperation with trade unions, using a subpopulation of respondents with an electronic CIS in use (n = 974). The data was analysed by descriptive methods using direct distribution and cross-tabulation. Mean values, standard deviations, 95% confidence intervals of the means and the proportions of poor and commendable grades were presented for school grades 4–10.
The results show that there is variance between the brands used in social care in terms of functionality, usability, support for work and cooperation and the perceived benefits. The average ratings of the brands ranged from moderate (6) to good (8). Nappula and Domacare, which are generally used in the limited social care settings, received the best ratings. Of the CISs widely used in social welfare, Pro Consona received the best rating (satisfactory). Designing and adapting CISs to the needs of a smaller and more limited user groups are naturally more straightforward, and users are able to learn a CIS system faster compared to CISs with large user groups and versatile functionalities. The development needs for all CISs were identified as support for cooperation and information exchanges, as well as support in understanding client services and improvements of electronic client services. The identified development areas are significant for future welfare regions. CISs have the potential to support the established objectives for social and welfare reform if they are developed in the future to better meet the needs of professionals.
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