So far, the novel coronavirus has infected over 182 million people across the world and claimed close to 4 million precious lives. But, the numbers are now declining and we’re finally seeing light at the end of the long and tumultuous tunnel thanks to the advent of vaccines.
According to Our World In Data, 22.6% of the world population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Although there still remain wide vaccination gaps in low-income countries, it’s safe to say (and hope) that we’ll soon see the end of the worst pandemic the world has seen in human history.
But now that we’re ready to reenter the ‘normal’ life, we must understand that it won’t be the same as it used to be in the pre-Covid times. The new ways that we must adapt to are popularly termed as ‘the new normal today. How we shop, transact, study and work have completely changed today.
The pandemic is leaving behind an immense socioeconomic dent in countries. Besides devastating life and economies, Covid-19 caused an unprecedented health crisis. Millions got sick and lost their lives or those of their loved ones. The crisis wasn’t restricted to the infected only.
The cure for the already sick was disrupted immensely as the hospitals got flocked by Covid-19 patients. Recovery programs were put to a halt and routine healthcare services were upset. Social services organizations, especially, saw a severe interruption as Covid-19 lockdowns kept clients from registering for and continuing their recovery programs.
Hundreds of thousands of people registered in various social programs took an adverse hit, and so did their care and support providers. The lack of effective communication and connectivity at both ends was putting the physical and mental health of millions at a huge risk. Although the need for social services organizations was now greater than before, the delivery was compromised hugely.
The new normal – or the new ways of running operations in the face and wake of Covid-19 – wasn’t easy for organizations. Human services organizations and nonprofits also found themselves scrambling to adapt to the new normal; those who didn’t have the right technology setup especially saw the toughest times.
Software solutions for nonprofits aren’t new in the market and have been around for many years now. But not all nonprofits had taken the need for digitizing their processes seriously until the pandemic tightened its grip and brought life to a complete standstill. For the well-equipped organizations, the impact wasn’t back-breaking.
The worst of the events and calamities in human history has a thing or two for positive change. In the case of Covid-19, it was the much-needed spurring of digitalization of the age-old processed and operations. Like other organizations, nonprofits also began adopting digital solutions to stay afloat and relevant.
Coivd-19 spurred myriad changes in how nonprofits and human services organizations handled their cases and programs. Although able to move amid lockdowns being essential workers, case managers weren’t able to provide the right amount of care as the clients didn’t have free mobility on their part.
This called for an urgent need for digital solutions that would facilitate case managers to connect with and support patients remotely. Virtual patient care and digital outreach suddenly became the most important thing, a change that many organizations had been resisting for quite some time.
Innovative case management software solutions came to the rescue; they helped case managers and social workers in the coordination of care, support in the management of chronically ill patients, as well as advocacy and interventions in countless other social factors of health.
Covid-19 had shed enough spotlight on the critical importance of case management in these troubled times. Thanks to advanced case management solutions, essential roles could now be handled remotely. Case managers had learned that their role had to be flexible enough to meet the patient’s needs. This flexibility was only delivered by case management solutions.
Caseworkers in hospitals, ambulatory care centers, and human services organizations were now working remotely, registering new patients and continuing ongoing programs. Today, remote consultations have become a norm and utilization reviews are also being handled remotely by the caseworkers.
As a result, organizations are reporting a sharp increase in performance and capacity. More patients are now served better in less time owing to advanced case management software solutions. The major paradigm shift has made collaboration more effective than it has ever been. Patient satisfaction is also significantly high.
The drastic switch to digital case management solutions from conventional ways wasn’t smooth sailing for caseworkers. They had to unlearn some things and learn many new things that these digital solutions had to offer. Although it took some getting used to for case managers to adapt to the new systems, the results were phenomenal.
One of the key skills of caseworkers is their ability to collaborate and predict which patients need what level of care. The case management solutions helped them enhance this skill by folds. With all the patient data and progress tracker right there at their fingertips, they can now provide better care in less time and with more focus.
Most of the case management software solutions are built intuitively keeping the end-user in mind. So, these solutions are easy to adapt to but do need hands-on practice for some while. The solutions providers also provide training and support to their clients which adds to the skill set of human services caseworkers.
Case management software solutions are helping health and human services providers to adapt to the new normal, and build and enhance their capacity at the same time. Here are some of the ways in which these solutions are helping organizations and their clients.
Case management systems of today focus on making collaboration easier and more fruitful. When it comes to case management, one of the biggest concerns of clients is a lack of or poor collaboration with the case manager or other stakeholders. Case management solutions for nonprofits resolve this problem by making collaboration swifter, smarter, and more effective. Especially in these pandemic times, these solutions also enable remote consultation which is a huge plus.
Case management solutions of today make personalized and improved client care like never before. With more effective collaboration, clients get to have more attention from the case manager and other services providers involved in the case management cycle. Plus, thanks to the self-service portals that many of today’s case management solutions today come equipped with, clients can resolve a number of queries and problems on their own as well.
Progress tracking is one of the most critical jobs of case managers at any human services organization. After they devise a tailored recovery program for a client, they have to keep a close check on the progress to ensure they’re steering in the right direction. A case management system enables case managers to track this progress more efficiently and know whether or not the program is working. Knowing the progress in real-time, they can make necessary changes to the program.
Case management is made more efficient by all your organizational data being accessed remotely. You no longer have to be at the office to access those paper files or digital files on your work computer for that matter. The modern-day case management solutions centralize all data but without compromise on its security; only authorized knowledge workers can access it, and they can access it from anywhere and on any digital device they use, including computers, tabs, and smartphones.
First of all, the system will help you get rid of all those paper files and folders stacked up on your office shelves and promote a paper-free environment. Secondly, the digitization of records will bring all crucial information about your clients and cases to your fingertips. With all data and case history right in front of you when and where you need it, you can manage the cases more efficiently while increasing the caseload per case manager.
As the Covid-19 cases decline, hospitals and other care facilities are also experiencing some load lightening. This is giving way for the non-COVID patients to cautiously return to healthcare facilities for necessary appointments and procedures that can’t be performed remotely.
But for many human services or nonprofit cases, their management is still possible remotely unless the patient asks otherwise. So far, the patient feedback has been encouraging and they appreciate the increased control the new case management systems have given them over their own recovery programs.
They can book and reschedule appointments, track their own progress, access their medical records, and have increased collaboration with their caseworker which was impossible before. So it’s not just the caseworkers or nonprofits that benefit from the case management solutions; patients get to benefit from them equally.
The digital transformation that Covid-19 has spurred is not a temporary adjustment but a permanent change. Nonprofits and caseworkers will not consider going back to the old ways as their processes have been streamlined immensely and capacity increased by folds. With less time to spend on routine processes, they have more time and capacity to serve more patients and seek more funds.
On the patients’ part, they are also not expected to return to the hassles of the ‘old normal’ where they had to spend hours to have a sitting with the case manager and other providers in their care program. With the new digital systems, it’s easier for them to communicate with the caseworker, have remote consultations, and keep an eye on their own progress.
This transformation was long overdue but was spurred by the pandemic. This is the future of case management as technology finally makes its way full-throttle to the human services domain. Even when Covid-19 is eliminated, the chances of organizations and people going back to the old ways are little. And with the social services solutions getting more advanced by the day, both patients and care providers will see more wonderful changes that facilitate life.