You may have noticed the emphasis in the social services sector lately on evidence and outcomes. And yet, little is being said about evidence based case management. Maybe this is not surprising; At first glance, evidence based case management seems counter intuitive. After all, isn’t case management the thing that happens before we can gather evidence and outcomes?
Read on to find out more about evidenced based case management, why it matters and how you can incorporate it into your practice.
Benefits of Evidence Based Case Management
The benefits to evidence based case management are many. Here are just a few of the things to consider when implementing a more evidence-based strategy:
- Offers the ability to create an individualized program based on other patients with similar situations
- Creates additional evidence to help analyze the chain of causation
- Links outcomes to specific inputs
- Higher overall success rates help ease the demands on the system and allow organizations to access new avenues of funding.
- Increased probability of patient success
A Definition and a Problem
Evidence based case management relies on using evidence from previous cases to make carefully targeted care decisions. All healthcare professionals are required to base their practices on evidence, but this can be tricky for practitioners in non-academic settings. Furthermore, case workers are already overburdened and do not have the time to spend conducting reviews that would be sufficient in depth for them to make proper evidence based care decisions.
According to URAC, research shows significant gaps between best medical practices that follow evidence-based treatment guidelines and the care many patients—especially those with chronic conditions—actually receive. However, with new tools at the disposal of case managers, this gap should continue to lessen over the coming years.
A busy schedule does not mean case managers should give up hope of ever implementing an evidenced based practice, thanks to the creation of systematic reviews.
Systematic reviews are tools that can be used by busy social workers to implement evidence based case management even when they don’t have time to do the research themselves. Systematic reviews are developed and published by a variety of professional groups, and they can support a process of developing guidelines for different case management scenarios. Essentially, they provide an overview of the evidence a case manager needs in a much easier to access and less time-consuming format.
Furthermore, the creation of these important tools has become much simpler as new software systems have been created and implemented which allow easier access to and analysis of outcomes data. The integration of these new reporting capabilities has made an evidence based practice more accessible than ever.
As you can see, evidence based case management no longer needs to be a pipe dream. Even the busiest of case managers can use a combination of systematic reviews and new software systems to access the power of evidence on behalf of their clients. As the tools are put into use more and more frequently, the quality of the outcomes data available will also rise, creating a positive feedback loop that will benefit case managers and patients for many years to come.
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