Case Management

Case Management Week: Tips to make your department the best it can be

Case Management Insider, October 13, 2015

It’s finally here—the week to celebrate all things case management and raise awareness of all the great things your department does for your organization and your patients every day. This year’s National Case Management Week theme is Case Management: A Patient's Partner in Healthcare. Organizations across the country are celebrating with special events and activities.

This week is also a time for case managers to step back, look at all the progress they’ve made, and set some new goals going forward.

Karen Zander, RN, MS, CMAC, FAAN, principal and co-owner of The Center for Case Management in Wellesley, Massachusetts, says one way that case managers can take stock of where they are at, compared to where they want to be is by comparing themselves to some national best practices that have proven effective for years.

Below are a few strategies that you should be using—if you’re not already.

  1. Shake up old practices. Have you moved from the old dyad model to the newer triad model yet? It might be time. The triad model uses a three-pronged approach, separating out three functions of case managers—using social workers, utilization management (UM), and clinical case managers together under one department. In contrast, the dyad model has case managers dividing their time between UM, discharge planning, and care coordination. Moving to this more modern approach can make your department run more efficiently and help case managers free up more time to put the focus where it belongs—on patients.
  2. Become a data collector. You can’t make improvements to your department if you don’t know where you currently stand. The only way to know that is to get real, concrete data about how you’re doing when it comes to measures such as readmissions of length of stay. Work with upper management and your IT department to get those critical numbers so you can really get a grip on how your department is doing and where it needs to improve in the future.
  3. Assess every patient, in person, within 24 hours of arrival to the facility. Many case managers these days stay holed up in an office poring over charts. This means they may be missing important clues about the patients they serve. The case manager needs to physically sit with a patient to see if he or she has needs that might lead to readmissions or other issues. Charts aren’t perfect and information is often missing from them.

So get out of that office and meet with patients directly to ensure the best care. Looking for more great tips to improve your department? Check out the December issue of Case Management Monthly for seven additional best practice strategies that can get your efforts moving in the right direction.


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