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Understanding Case Management: Part 1 What Is Case Management?

What Is Case Management?

Like most people who are new to case management, you probably have lots of questions. Exactly what is case management? How is case management different from workflow or business process software? In what industries can case management be implemented? How is the digital age impacting case management? The flotilla of blog posts to follow will attempt to simplify your understanding of case management and answer these questions.

Case management Defined

A “case” is any project, transaction, service or response that is “opened” and “closed” over a period of time to achieve resolution of a problem, claim, request, proposal, development or other complex activity.

Unlike workflows or most applications Case Management software aims to assist people in operating on bundles of content rather than individual documents or images. These bundles can be very large with a typical “case” containing compendium of information, processes, advanced analytics, business rules, collaboration, and social interactions. A medical case, for example, will consist of numerous notes, records, complex analytics and so on.

Case’s typically relate to a particular interaction with an issue involving a party like a customer, supplier, patient, student, or defendant.  However they will also most likely involved interactions with numerous other parties such as third parties, family members, solicitors etc. The case file will involve a collection of the electronic customer communications, forms, process documents, reports and supporting documentation.

So case management isn’t anything new. For years and years cases have been managed through large lever arch files and these have gradually (at least in some industries!) moved into electronic systems; typically document management systems as the first step.

But case management software needs to be far more than storing documents in a case file. When a caseworker is managing a large volume of cases the system needs to become their digital assistant. Assisting them with reminders; enabling users to focus on the most critical tasks and providing useful tools to make their work easier. However, in addition to “assisting” the case system also needs to be “prescriptive”; ensuring that critical processes are followed and that cases are managed in a compliant way. We describe this mixture of assistive and prescriptive process support, together with the ability to change flexibly between the two as adaptive or dynamic case management. Adaptive case management improves the performance of your organisation by putting case information front-and-centre rather than considering the process as primary, the way workflow and BPM do.

Case Management Today and Tomorrow

As we enter the age of Digital Business, organisations are changing the way they work. Less serial, “unskilled” processes are being performed by people, as systems take over automated tasks.

In 2015, 60% of occupations are classified as non-routine as opposed to 40% routine; and this percentage is increasing year on year as our processes become more and more knowledge centric.

As “human work” becomes more unstructured and specialised, experts are required to make more knowledge-based decisions in an ad hoc manner based on moment-to-moment conditions. Its no wonder then that organisations are increasingly adopting case management techniques to provide better business outcomes in the future.

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