Challenges, Victories, and Dreams

New Pathways for Health and Human Services Professionals Around the World

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Navigating the complex landscape of Health and Human Services (HHS) is a daunting task for even the most experienced professionals. Watson Health has a true understanding of the daily challenges you face in this field—as well as proven solutions to help you meet the needs of social program management.

"People are frustrated with the paperwork. People are frustrated with the process. Everybody has their own idea of what’s possible because we have no standardized criteria."

Tini Zainuden
Malaysian Child Activist

Case management

The daunting impact of case overload

"The biggest challenge … is the sheer caseload that each caseworker is assigned because of a shortage and budget issues. I feel a bit of frustration because they don’t have enough time and you start feeling less like an individual and more like a number."

Elizabeth Rahuba
Homelessness Activist


U.S. social workers handle more than 2x the recommended number of caseloads



On average, caseworkers spend only 18% of their day with children and families



Caseworkers spend more than 33% of their time dealing with documentation


By improving data management, caseworkers are able to increase and improve their interactions with the people who matter most.

Mobility matters

IBM Watson Health Mobile solutions are empowering caseworkers by placing the tools they need at their fingertips. With real-time accessibility to case files and the ability for dynamic updates, the mobile app is revolutionizing the visitation process.

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Pushing for progress

Any number of HHS professionals will tell you: Case management at its core is about setting people up for success by connecting them with the services (and service providers) that can help them achieve desired outcomes. A number of factors make this challenge easier. As clinical addiction specialist Michelle Guerin explains, mindset is chief among them.

Michelle Guerin

"I don’t know why I’ve been given this skill. I guess to say this gift, but why I do it is I don’t like to see people struggle. I don’t think it’s fair. I’ve been blessed in the family I grew up in. We had our hardships, but we came out strong. And I think everybody deserves to have that, and I was never judged because of the history of my family members. And I don’t ever want to see that with anybody else. I think it’s important that we as a society help each other and not fight against each other."

Along with the right frame of mind, cutting edge mobile and cognitive solutions empower leaders in the field by enabling them to explore new possibilities, then work collaboratively and confidently to bring those realities to life.

Data management

Dealing with the data explosion

"Often times, it can be easy to get focused on the measurement and the data, and the assessments that you’re doing. Sometimes the client or the patient care can get lost in there. So, you have to be really diligent to make sure you’re focusing on the person that’s in front of you and not just working through the paperwork or the documentation requirements."

Nate Crowell
Licensed clinical social worker

As little as 20% of a caseworker’s day involves face-to-face interaction—because up to 50% is consumed by administrative tasks.

Giving power to the people

"Knowing that we have really moved to a system that is really client centered is critically important. We are not making decisions for other people. We are allowing people to make their own decisions but providing the right resources without judgment, with dignity, and with as much support as possible. Those are the things that get me out of bed in the morning."

Shana Overdorf
Homelessness Advocate

Analytics tools enable HHS organizations to extract deeper, actionable insights from their data, creating real-world use cases that can extend globally across the HHS landscape.

Fighting Medicaid fraud is an ongoing battle. To get ahead of the problem, Iowa Medicaid Enterprise uses specialized algorithms and predictive analytics from Watson Health to proactively identify everything from elaborate billing schemes to honest human errors. Employees have greater visibility into their operations because they have richer, more accurate information that wasn’t previously at their disposal.

Cognitive-powered social services tools present extraordinary opportunities to significantly improve the lives of vulnerable children. With the ability to ingest and understand large data sets in real time, these tools can identify plans that proved successful for children with similar experiences.

  • In California, Aspiranet uses natural language inquiry of unstructured data to help 22,000 children transition from foster care to living on their own.
  • Cognitive technology is helping professionals more accurately assess, plan for, and personalize support for substance abuse.
  • Pilot programs in Italy and the U.S. are combining cognitive technology with the Internet of Things (IoT) to create smart homes that allow the elderly to continue living on their own.

An eye toward the future

When you provide passionate people with the right tools to do their jobs, positive change is possible. We asked Daniel Braun about his dreams for the social worker ecosystem. Here’s what he had to say:

"Caseworkers could actually go live out in the world instead of sitting in the office all day and essentially manage their case work as they go along with tablet in hand. It would actually be revolutionary."

Daniel Braun
German hospice worker


Working worldwide toward a common goal

"I do think with better communication we could figure out what resources we have, what resources we don’t have, and work on filling those holes so we can provide better services to people in need."

Emily Rhyne
Healthcare Navigator

"We met with some of the biggest household names in the world, but what really struck us about IBM from the outset was that our values were so similar. It was very much about co-production. We’re very proud and very passionate about our co-production approach, and that seemed to resonate with IBM immediately. They also shared a desire to improve the lives and outcomes for our most vulnerable citizens."

Bernie Flaherty
Director of Adult Social Services

Designed to offer every individual full lifecycle support from needs to outcomes, IBM Watson Health solutions enable providers to collaborate more effectively to help people achieve the results they need.

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Creating a truly connected and confidential culture

It’s one thing to talk about working in a collaborative culture that doesn’t sacrifice the privacy of clients, it’s quite another to have access to tools that enable you to execute on that vision. If healthcare navigator Emily Rhyne had one wish, here is how she’d use it:

Emily Rhyne

"I think having a system to share confidential information more easily could be helpful, especially between clients because, for the most part, I have to require clients to come in, in person and sit down with me. I am not supposed to retain documentation and I definitely want to be really careful about what kind of documents or information I send by email. The reality is for a lot of clients, email may be the easiest way for them to communicate, or by text, or FAX, or whatever. Not being able to send that kind of stuff electronically to people is tricky. I think it can become a burden to the client having to come into my office every time we need to do any little thing. Yeah, I definitely think having better technology for information sharing would be helpful."

Extending a helping hand

"We’re all humans on this earth. And each of us deserves to have a helping hand sometimes. And in the field that I’m in, we meet people at their worst times. And to just watch them be able to bloom again and be the person that we’re all here to be, that’s the most amazing part about my job."

Michelle Guerin
Clinical Addiction Specialist

Despite the challenges their jobs often present, the world’s dedicated HHS professionals continue to do what they can—with what they have. Tini Zainuden, a child activist in Malaysia, explains why.

Tini Zainuden

"I think the human spirit is something that is so precious and so wonderful. And what you need to care for and potentially protect. Because that’s what’s going to drive a person … to make believers out of disbelievers … That’s why I do the work I do because there are successes and because the human spirit is strong"

We need to ensure that our society, our community, our country is strong. That’s why we do social work. That’s why it’s important.

The World Health Organization describes health as being “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely an absence of disease or infirmity.”

With Watson Health, HHS professionals around the world are better equipped than ever to offer a helping hand to anyone who needs it.

IBM Watson Health Solutions for Health and Human Services

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