It is important to determine whether case management software system can meet the needs of your staff and your referral source.
• Can it keep track of your case manager’s notes and daily activities?
• Will my case management software produce an invoice that accurately reflects both the activity on the file and in keeping with my client’s Special Handling Instructions?
• Can I generate progress reports for the referral source?
• Does it keep an accurate case log of my case manager’s activity?
• Can I link medical reports to the case?
After the case management software system validates these basic requirements you may want to consider the following best practices to assist in choosing the system that best meets your needs.
1. Is the software easy to use while still collecting the data you need? Software applications can create incredible efficiencies and provide invaluable data to your customer – if they are easy to use. Decision makers want data, but if your users have a difficult time entering data because it requires them to navigate a maze of menu items, your productivity will decrease at the expense of data collecting.
The gold standard for case management systems include user interfaces geared towards case manager productivity, while collecting and storing valuable data for future use. Additionally, a system should ensure minimizing workflow adjustments to end users when new features are made available. It is essential to ensure optimal workflow efficiencies while not trading off valuable data assets.
2. Does the software change the way you work? Is it a positive or negative change? We all know that change can be scary, especially if you have been trained to do things a certain way. “If it’s not broke, then why fix it” is a question frequently asked by the staff when being asked to make this change.
For example, the billing life cycle can be a pain point particularly when you work with several service lines, across multiple regions, with specific billing exceptions, rules, and handling instructions unique to each client. This can be a great candidate for process improvement. The case management system can make noting these exceptions superfluous to the user, as they can be input once and then accurately utilized by the entire team. The case manager is then only concerned with providing timely, quality case management services.
This would be a change even your most resistant staff could embrace. Ask the software vendor to run through some of your most common case management workflows and see for yourself if the solution gives time back to your case managers.
3. Will the vendor be able to support my case managers? In addition to ensuring the case management software you are evaluating meets your functional requirements, make sure the vendor has a structured end-user support system in place. This will prevent frustrated case managers unable to perform their work because they forgot how to perform a task or something is simply not working.
To assess for this end-user support, assess what type of support is offered post implementation? Is there phone/email support? What are their live support hours? What are your SLAs (service level agreements)? Are there manuals, reference guides or knowledge bases available? Although some may argue that an intuitive case management system should be self-explanatory, manuals and reference guides serve as a sort of safety blanket for the end-user. Users inherently want to use a system correctly, and reference manuals are the de-facto way vendors communicate the “preferred” way of using their software.
4. Does the case management software use a modern infrastructure? Is the software hosted on the cloud? There are several advantages that are realized by having your case management software hosted on a cloud infrastructure. Scalability, availability, disaster recovery, and performance are a few of the most important. If the case management software is not hosted in a cloud type environment you will need to understand the rationale, though current best practices are use of a cloud environment.
5. Security, Security, Security – Did we mention security? It doesn’t matter if the case management software you are evaluating checks off all the items discussed above and more, if the platform is not secure or if the vendor does not have a proven track record for security. A vendor that minimizes or does not stress the importance of security, leaves your entire operation exposed to potential data breaches. Current best practice is to require SOC2 compliance.
Do your own extensive risk assessment prior to selecting your case management software vendor. Ask the vendor to provide their policies regarding IT governance, change management, and access management. It will be hard and time consuming, but this exercise will help to mitigate disastrous consequences in the future.