An Introductory Guide to Case Management

Best Practice Guide

Case management emerges as a process of systematic problem solving

What is case management, exactly? Outside of the healthcare and social assistance sectors, there’s great ambiguity – the precise meaning of the term and a nuanced understanding of its underlying techniques often eluding those in other industries, such emergency and safety management, who most stand to benefit from implementing the practice. So, let’s start at the beginning.

Case management first emerged as a managed care technique, specifically in advanced healthcare and social assistance systems. The novelty it offered as a practice was simple, a more “holistic” means of handling patient care, one that more fully accounted for extra-medical factors like physical, emotional, financial, psychosocial, and behavioral needs, as well as related support systems.

Since its inception, though, case management has broken out of the narrow confines of healthcare and social assistance, making important forays to disaster, emergency, and safety management (among other sectors), as well as regulatory compliance. The question is why.

Well, at its core, case management is all about solving problems, especially gathering information (among other resources) and getting it distributed quickly. Case management can be understood as a collaborative work method (constituting multiple phases) to link people to the relevant and available resources they need to attain predetermined goals. The problems themselves are deemed cases, representing pieces of work that deliver tangible business outcomes for a customer, employee, partner, or other stakeholder.

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