In today’s harried health care environment, every participant of the patient care team seems to be rushing from one situation to the next, simply trying to put out proverbial fires. Often, there is someone associated with the care team whose job title is case manager, care coordinator or something similar. Actually, there are probably two or three people working in a similar capacity who has some level of interaction with the care team.
The sad thing is that no one seems focused on the big picture. Instead each struggles to keep up with their job’s demands. BUT through the miracle of the Electronic Health Record as long as every box is checked or drop down menu is selected from, people feel a false sense of reassurance that the work is done.
Well, I beg to differ with this conclusion.
Professional case management is about more than simply checking off boxes in the medical record or whatever information system one is working in. The Commission for Case Management Certification (CCMC) defines case management as “a collaborative process that assesses, plans, implements, coordinates, monitors, and evaluates the options and services required to meet the client’s health and human service needs. It is characterized by advocacy, communication, and resource management and promotes quality and cost-effective interventions and outcomes” (2015).
Frankly, none of these actions can be encapsulated by a check list. Each require a qualified clinical profession to take a step back and objectively assess each patient’s situation in order to formulate clear recommendations for patient-centered care coordination. The patient with special needs requires a case manager able to sensitively advocate on his/her behalf, to logically discuss pros and cons of each option, and to collaboratively reach consensus as to the most appropriate interventions as part of the patient’s care plan.
Professional case management process requires one to practice in a mindful manner. In other words, effective, professional case management is Conscious Case Management©. Conscious Case Management© is fairly easy to recognize but difficult to embody. It requires a clinical profession who is committed to practice excellence as evidenced by continuing education, certification, and advancement of professional case management practice. While we are not all driven to author articles and books or speak in public or participate in a professional organization, we must take personal responsibility to contribute to the practice by striving for day-to-day excellence and quality care. We must look beyond medical record and room number and diagnosis code to see the face of a human being who needs our very best in order to become his/her very best through as full a recovery as is possible.
Avoid falling into the pit of being a case management-bot. Instead, strive to become a Conscious Case Manager©.
Definition of Case Management found at http://ccmcertification.org/about-us/about-case-management/definition-and-philosophy-case-management on April 15, 2015.