Not too long ago, I sent out a question on LinkedIn to take a quick temperature reading of what health care professionals are thinking regarding the future of case management. This is the question that I raised via the social networking site:
How do you think that the case management profession will evolve over the next several years?
The practice of case management is rapidly changing in many settings due to technology, new clinical workflow tools, licensure requirements, new regulations and so on. One example is the integration of utilization, case and disease management services into complex, condition management programs. What types of changes have you observed or predict that will impact the practice of case management?
To my pleasant surprise, I immediately received about 20 responses to my question. Although opinions varied widely, many responses addressed the opportunities associated with technology.
Here are some partial quotes from four of the respondents:
- “Companies that can perform and manage analytics pertaining to the care mgmt process may have significant opportunities in this future.” (Medical Director)
- “I think we will see a range of models working toward integration of behavioral and physical case management, requiring new strategies for case coordination in terms of communications, data exchange, sharing of medical records, policies, etc. — without actual practice integration taking place between such disparate professions.” (Healthcare Consultant)
- “Integration of social media, wireless communication, predictive modeling, EMR and related electronic information, registry and claims data will enable the case manager to take a more wholistic role in optimizing patient care within the rubric of the value-based, accountable organization.” (Predictive Modeling Expert).
- “I believe technology (EMRs) will have a significant impact. The use of EMRs will allow many clinicians to view the records of those receiving care. I believe this will make it easier for specialists to determine what the other specialties are doing in the form of treatments and meds. As such, there is great potential to coordinate the care without duplication and decrease the occurrence of adverse events. The data contained in the EMR, however; must be transformed into reports that provide meaningful, concise and clear information otherwise, it will only confuse and cause delays in treatment. The data can also be used to improve the processes of care not only coordination but also from the perspective of outcomes in determining which treatments and meds work and those that do not.” (Medical School Professor)
In sum, it appears that there is a growing awareness that case managers need to get the right information to the right stakeholder at the right time to best serve the patient. In some respects, generating information for case managers, attending providers and patients is no longer the main challenge. It really is coming up with useful and actionable information in an integrated manner that empowers clinical interventions to become more successful.