Running a health and human services organization can be as challenging as it is rewarding. Often, case management processes—like entering data into spreadsheets, creating reports, and handling clientele growth—can slow down organization effectiveness. Be aware of the signs that show it may be time to upgrade to a more functional case management system.
Social Work and Case Management
As a health and human services organization, you are likely to be actively working on multiple accounts. Whether it be resettling new refugees, responding to a behavioral health crisis, or administering hygiene kits, the work of social care is always in motion.
The health and human services industry as a whole is actively engaged in work. There are around 700,000 social workers in the US alone, and the number is increasing. In fact, the total number of jobs in health and human services is expected to grow 11% in the next decade. As this growth continues, non-profits and other organizations will also need to adapt and innovate.
One area that organizations are starting with is improving their case management.
What is Case Management?
Case management refers to the process of leading client cases. It includes a workflow involving client intake, assessments, milestone recording, and data reporting. While case management is primarily used for non-profits and social work, other industries like law, medicine, and criminal investigation also use case management.
Case management is most critical for jobs requiring human decision making.
When it comes to working with people experiencing homelessness or domestic violence, for example, the right step is not always readily apparent. Each case requires a tailored approach, which is why the human element is so crucial—it is work that a computer cannot realistically do.
Due to the nuanced nature of social work, issues with case management can easily arise.
The human element of case management means that it is also prone to human error. Data entry, timely upkeep, and proper analysis are all areas that can quickly become problematic for case managers. As such, many organizations are now looking at third-party case management systems to help manage time and accomplish goals.
How do you know if switching to a case management system is right for your organization? Consider these three signs that signal it is time for you to upgrade to a more comprehensive case management system.
1) Spreadsheets Are Out of Date
When evaluating your current case management process, it is critical to check if your spreadsheets and bookkeeping are up to date.
While spreadsheet software programs have decent functionality, they are often poorly organized and are not easily accessible. As such, organizations often find themselves overwhelmed by the amount of spreadsheets they are using to manage clients. This is a recipe for disaster. It is easy to forget to update information or lose track of spreadsheets, and without a unified workflow, data may be entered differently or incorrectly. This can halt analytical processes and make it difficult for growth.
Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Palm Beach found themselves in a similar situation with their spreadsheet management. Historically, each program in their organization managed their own data independently. Some were using Access databases while others were simply using spreadsheets. This meant that any collaboration between programs had to be done manually, with Catholic Charities working with each program individually to assess their program and data.
Recognizing that this system was burdening them and obstructing their efforts, Catholic Charities adopted the ClientTrack™ data sharing platform to manage their data and facilitate collaboration between programs. You can read more about their process implementing our case management system here.
2) Reports Are Difficult to Make
Health and human service organizations know that reports are critical to the work. Reporting has two main functions: 1. it helps internal processes analyze what is working effectively and what needs changing, and 2. reports serve as necessary information for grant and donor applications.
If your program finds itself struggling to put together reports, it may be time to consider a more robust case management system.
The Jacksonville Area Sexual Minority Youth Network, or JASMYN, found itself in this exact situation. As JASMYN continued to expand, they recognized the need to elevate the way they used their data to better serve their clients, report back to funders, and apply for more grants. This system did not lend itself to effective time management. Reports would often take weeks to create and required comparing and converting a variety of inputs.
Once implementing ClientTrack™, JASMYN could create reports in a matter of moments. Not only has this saved time, but it has also allowed for a more comprehensive and effective analysis of what is working and what needs improving. If you are curious about how JASMYN did this, check out their case study here.
3) You Are Wanting to Grow
The most exciting part of case management systems is that they facilitate unlimited program growth.
There are only so many spreadsheets and email chains that can support organizational expansion. For non-profits looking to grow their outreach, they will find themselves limited by functionalities that programs like Excel offer.
For those wanting to manage more clients and increase effectiveness, case management is one of the clearest and easiest ways to accomplish it.
Bridges from School to Work, a program offering work opportunities to students with disabilities, is one example of such success. As Bridges continued to grow, they understood the need to further utilize their data to serve the youth and report back to their funders. Their case management system did not provide all the tools they needed, and their staff frequently described it as “cumbersome”.
By upgrading their basic system to the more comprehensive data platform ClientTrack™, Bridges has been able to grow from operating in three cities to thirteen. Even more, they are confident that ClientTrack will continue to support them as they look to expand even more. Such growth would have been incredibly difficult—if not downright impossible—on their old case management system. You can read how they accomplished this growth here.
Taking the Next Step
As your health and human services organization continues to grow, evaluating your case management system is an important step. If you find yourself experiencing any of these signs—out of date spreadsheets, difficulty creating reports, or the desire to grow your services—then it may be time to find a better case management provider.
Thankfully, we are here to help you every step of the way. With our industry leading ClientTrack™ platform, we can help you implement a program made custom for you.
With ClientTrack, you can save time, streamline processes, and focus on what matters most: helping those in need. Feel free to schedule a demo with us today so we can explore how ClientTrack can best serve you.
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