The case management assessment is the first step in the case management process and truly sets the stage for the entire journey. This journey can vary widely depending on the outcomes of the assessment and the type of services required by the individual who is being assessed. However, most organizations only devote a limited amount of attention to this part of the process. They may have a form which standardizes some of the intake proceedings, or they may just rely on the case manager to ask the right questions to accurately assess the client’s needs.
Such a haphazard methodology of case management assessment needs to join the rest of the case management process in the modern era, and with the right tools and technology, this is a problem which can easily be addressed.
Read on to find out what your organization needs to improve their case management assessment process.
Case Management Assessment Examples
- The New York State Department of Health has what they call an Initial Comprehensive Assessment protocol for complex or long-standing medical or psychosocial needs. This is a fairly rigorous inventory designed to standardize intake proceedings on complex cases.
- The Oregon state Temporary Assistance for Needy Families intake procedure, on the other hand, is much more reliant on the case manager’s initial interview with the family and a self-assessment form.
- Victory Programs, a Massachusetts based organization focused on health and housing, offers a 23-page intake assessment packet which covers a broad range of topics.
Challenges with the Current Assessment Processes
While some organizations have strong case management assessment practices in places, others do not. Some have long intake forms while others rely on case workers’ experience to extract the necessary information. How these forms are handled demonstrates an even greater disparity. With this lack of standardization, it is no wonder that funders are frequently pulling their hair out trying to figure out exactly how to use their money to serve the populations they want to help. This lack of structure or consistency is one of the major reasons client tracking is such a buzzword right now and something everyone is trying to focus on improving.
Believe it or not, the initial assessment has a major influence on the outcomes and tracking the evidence and data from start to finish is absolutely critical in being able to focus on continuous quality improvement. However, having to fill out a 23-page form is equally challenging as it takes the case manager’s focus away from the dialog with the client. Furthermore, sorting and tracking those 23 pages of data is a full-time job for someone else at the organization.
Thankfully, due to recent advances in technology and software tools, your organization can extract the data it needs while simplifying and streamlining the assessment process, allowing your people to focus more of their attention on program delivery.
So What Is the Solution?
Case management software, of course.
The right case management software can help your organization work with data in real time, rather than just on the back end, a benefit which made a tremendous difference for Mathematica Policy Research. In this case, using the ETO Social Solutions software improved their data quality by collecting that data at the point of service rather than at “unnatural” case management assessment intervals and moreover, for researchers and evaluators, a mirrored site of key data is available which can be accessed without upsetting data on the client’s end.
Case management assessment no longer has to be an arduous and challenging process. Collecting the data required when bringing new clients into your organization can be simple and customized to their particular situation and their individual needs at any given moment. Client tracking has been revolutionized by the advent of case management software, and it’s time for your case management assessment process to catch up.