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Health Care and Social Work
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One of the paradoxes of the health care and social work industry is that even though information and knowledge are essential for its success, practitioners are quite reluctant when it comes to using information technology and business software that can help them manage information. One of the reasons for this may be that older members of the medical profession may find using information technologies more challenging than younger doctors, nurses, or social workers. Also, decision makers in health care and social work organizations are concerned about the security of the confidential information gathered about patients.
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The health care and social work industry faces challenges related to the following issues.
  • Because the quality of life has improved considerably in Europe, North America, and other developed regions, people are living longer and better. This means an aging population, with more and more people needing medical services. On the other hand, people suffer from psychological troubles caused by stress, being overweight, and other factors, which makes the work of social workers more difficult.
  • People from less developed countries and even certain demographics in developed ones require the assistance of social workers, mostly to overcome the psychological barriers that stop them from having a happy or productive life.
  • The complexity of the industry makes collaboration and document management very difficult, both internally (between departments of the same hospital, laboratory, etc.) and externally (between different health care organizations).
  • Huge amounts of information are generated, collected and need to be shared between governmental institutions, hospitals and laboratories, insurance companies, social workers, etc. Most of the data is confidential, which makes security a major concern.
  • Compliance regulations for health care and social work organizations can be defined by the country, state, or region. Both national and international legislation are very strict when it comes to dealing with people’s health.
  • Changes in patients’ expectations have an important influence on the way health care and social work organizations interact with them. Even though treatment and diagnosis still require the physical presence of the patient, many other services (e.g., schedule appointments, exchanging information, etc.) can now be done online.

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