The Dangers of Siloed Social Workers Within a Multi-Disciplinary Team

By Caretivity

Caretivity helps social workers stay connected so they can provide better care to their clients. 

April 8, 2020

Social services delivered in silos can be dangerous—it manifests as duplication of services, lack of necessary services, and an overall uninformed service delivery. But we know that multi-disciplinary teams prevent these pitfalls and lead to better outcomes.

What are the dangers when the multi-disciplinary team itself operates in a silo?

If the multi-disciplinary team becomes a silo, then each participating organization is exposed to the dangers of poor documentation, which puts funding and compliance at risk. In addition, the organizations’ leaders miss out on key insights that help inform crucial, programmatic business decisions.

For example, in a multi-disciplinary team, you may meet with your client in person and record your notes in your organization’s system of record each time.

Then you have a productive team meeting, which uncovers insights that influence you to try a new technique the next time you meet with the client.

You meet with the client, try the new technique, and record the results as notes in your organization’s system of record.

While that process may sound standard, it presents the potential for huge problems.

If someone else looked at your notes, they would see a sudden change in technique, and probably a great improvement in outcome. However, they would not see why a change was made in the first place and, potentially, how you arrived at the new approach.

What was learned in the team meeting did not make it into your organization’s system of record. It had a giant influence on why you decided to deliver a certain type of service to your client, but it was not part of your regular reporting practices—even if the “why” was supported by other team members who have also treated your client.

These insights and best practices remain siloed within your team. You may have uncovered an innovative strategy, but people outside your team cannot see it.

In order to capture what you learn in the team’s interactions and have that information shared in your organization’s system of record, you have two options:

  1. Add an additional step to your normal reporting cadence to record new notes in the system of record each time you meet with the team.
  2. Have your multi-disciplinary team use a collaboration platform that captures your learning sessions and produces the report for you, so you can automatically add it to your system of record.

It is crucial that you document the learning done outside the one-on-one time with your client, as that often influences why you make certain decisions with your service delivery!

Remember, that “why” in your documentation convinces funders to pay for the service, supports your decisions for compliance purposes, and provides your organizational leadership with the insight they need to make important business decisions.

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