What is case management?

Case Management


Case Management

Case management has become an essential process over the past several decades. The term case management is frequently used, however, it is often misunderstood. Part of the reason for this is that the term itself is tricky to define. Generally, though, case management is defined as a coordinated effort between community-based, often nonprofit, organizations that work to provide quality health care solutions that are customized to a client’s specific and individual needs.

Most often, case management is associated with traditional health services, however it can also be applied to employment searches, transportation solutions, and community involvement. The case management process is designed to be a collaboration between the certified case manager and their client to achieve the client’s goal.
Case management is a big world. Let’s breakdown some the elements of it to gain a better understanding of the process. .

What is the case management process?


During intake, the certified case manager gathers as much information - demographic, health history, etc… - in hopes of forming a complete picture of the client’s situation. This is a foundational step that serves as the groundwork for each step that follows. In addition to gathering demographic information and identifying immediate needs, the case manager will determine if the client is able to be helped by the organization.

Needs Assessment

This second step, assessment of client needs, builds on the information that is gathered in the previous step. During this step, the certified case manager identifies the client’s key needs, interests and goals. Specific and achievable goals are outlined and, just as important, potential roadblocks are honestly communicated. A very important aspect of this step is that it is revisited throughout the case management life cycle to reassess needs as conditions change.

Service Planning

In the third step, specific tasks are outlined that will help move the client toward their goal. This plan and the accompanying set of tasks is the culmination of input from the intake process, the needs assessment step, and input from the client’s health support group. This support group may consist of physicians, family members, and other health providers. In addition to specific actions outlined, a timeline is created to guide the process and maintain focus.

Monitoring and Evaluation

In the fourth and final step of case management, the certified case manager monitors the established metrics to assess progress and to determine if the organization has been able to help the client. It is critical that qualified data be used in this step rather than anecdotal evidence. Anecdotal evidence could swing the determination of progress wildly in one direction or the other based on a single compelling event. It is critical that this not happen if the client is to truly reach their goal.

Types of case management

There are many types and models of case management that are frequently used.
Here are some of the most common models in use today:

The Brokerage Case

In this model, the certified case manager focuses primarily on the needs assessment and planning phase with the goal of helping the client get the services they need. Case managers are not quite as close to the clients in the brokerage case management model as others. A big advantage of this approach is that the client has the opportunity to practice a higher level of independence .

The Clinical Case

If a more hands on approach is required than what is provided in the brokerage model, the clinical case management model may be adopted. In this model, the certified case manager puts together a comprehensive plan involving a wide array of services but the case manger works to develop a close relationship with their client.

The Strengths & Personal Empowerment

This model seeks to assess the strengths of the client and consider those while tailoring a plan specific to the client’s needs. When a certified case manager works to incorporate a client’s strengths into their care plan, it fosters a sense of independence and cooperation with the client. The client will feel empowered and will be bought in to the plan and their own health and well being.

Intensive Case

In some instances, it may be necessary to provide effective, higher quality services within a short time frame. That is the goal of the intensive care management model. This model necessitates a significant amount of one-on-one time between the client and certified case manager.

Assertive Community Treatment

This model focuses on services being delivered by teams who share case loads and share services that can be delivered within the client’s natural environment. This model is designed to take services out of the hospital for the client’s comfort. It is truly a team effort, with all hands on deck working for the good of the client.

Who is a case manager?

Any conversation about case management wouldn’t be complete with addressing the question: Who is a certified case manager? We’ve referenced the role several times already but it is certainly worth taking a look at the individuals who take this role on. A certified case manager is a trained health professional whose purpose is to better the lives and needs of their clients.

Case managers are dedicated and passionate individuals who are educated and certified in the field of case management. They work with their clients, the client’s family, and the client’s health professionals to get them the resources they need to meet their goals. Case management is difficult and time consuming work that requires tremendous focus and dedication.

Certified case managers play an integral role not only in the health care system but also in the lives of the client’s they impact daily.

Role of a case manager

Certified case managers have a wide array of responsibilities requiring a multi-faceted skill set. This variety in skillset is what makes case managers unique. They need to see things from a clinical and scientific perspective while also being highly empathetic. They must be able to understand how their client is feeling and be in-tune with the concerns of the client’s family while simultaneously taking a direct and objective view of the situation.
In short, case management is not a simple job. It requires juggling several roles at the same time. The primary functions of a case manager include, and are certainly not limited to, the following:


Certified case managers become advocates on behalf of their client. They fight for them to gain access to the workforce and to health professionals in a timely manner. They are the contact point between their client and other stakeholders in that person’s life. Regulation and health care law is a complicated web and case managers are tasked with navigated that for their clients.


Early in the process of case management, the case manager spends a lot of time assessing and learning about their client’s specific situation so that the best plan possible can be put together. Determining the specific tasks and objectives to pursue - as well as a timeline to achieve them - is one of the most important aspects of a case managers job.


The old adage rings true: “Organization is the key to success”. Organization is a skill that is of utmost importance for all healthcare professions. In fact, being organized and securely maintaining information is a prerequisite to being a case manager. Careful documentation is critical and can often be the dividing line between success and failure.


Case managers must possess empathy. Being able to recognize and sympathize with the struggles of their clients is critical to effectively helping a client. Empathy also builds a rapport and a level of trust with clients and their family members that nothing else can even come close to replicating.


There is a whole host of groups that must be communicated with during case management. Case managers spend a lot of time with their communication hats on as they try to distill information to its core and most salient points to convey to the client, family, friends, and health professions about the situation as it stands.


Every client has different needs and every day brings new challenges. Because of this, case managers must be willing and able to adapt as changes come their way. Being able to think quickly and adapt helps them be the steady hand that clients and their families depend on.

What is case management software?

Today’s case managers have tremendous tools at their disposal. The development of case management software has created efficiencies that reduce laborious data entry and documentation and freeing up more time for case managers to devote to their clients immediate needs. Case management software is designed to help case managers with the unique aspects of their workload from intake all the way to monitoring and evaluation.

Benefits of case management software

Case management software provides a safe and secure platform that case managers can take with them anywhere. The ability to upload documents, organize notes, reference previous documentation, and managing the specific needs of a wide variety of clients is a game changer. The face that today’s software can be taken anywhere and accessed anytime is just one more advantage of the modern tool.

Best software for case management

PlanStreet offers a robust and comprehensive case management software. It is tailor made to suit the needs of today’s certified case managers. PlanStreet seeks to reduce manual process and overly burdensome paperwork by providing a safe and secure platform to work.

One of the most important aspects is the ability to take PlanStreet’s case management software anywhere and access it anytime. Being able to access secure information, forms, and client information at the office, at home, or in the field is invaluable for the modern day case manager.

PlanStreet’s case management software offers help for certified case managers at the intake, needs assessment, service planning, and monitoring and evaluation steps of the case management process.

Some of the key components and advantages of PlanStreet’s case management software for certified case managers are:

Some of the key components and advantages of PlanStreet’s case management software for certified case managers are:

  • Configurable dashboards to help with reporting and service planning
  • It is adaptable to the specific needs of individual clients and changing processes
  • Regular data backups ensure that files are secure and preserved
  • Provides analysis for what action items are proving to be effective and those that are not worth the organization’s time
  • Access anywhere with cloud based management software
  • Streamlines processes and enhances efficiencies
  • PlanStreet’s case management system is a proven tool for certified case managers. The software is a powerful tool that streamlines processes, improves organization, and fosters efficient case management. Combined with the specialized training of a certified case manager, successful case management is all the more likely.

Case managers deserve the best tools available

Case management is a complex field that
requires dedicated professionals.

Certified case management professionals are tasked with displaying empathy, organization, patience, effective communication, and countless other skills. They deserve the best tools they can get their hands on because they are doing some of the most valuable work in our society. Helping those in need and guiding their families through the complex web of modern health care is a challenge in and of itself.
The organizational and documentation aspects of this shouldn’t contribute to an already difficult job. This is why utilizing a great case management software can economize a case manager’s workload and free up some of their valuable time to spend more time doing what they do best: working with clients to improve their lives.