How Does Effective Case Management Look?

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Health and human services are complex. They require effective case management systems that not only do the job but do it well. How can you be sure that your case management is at the standard you need? Consider these four elements: client intake and assessment, design tools, referral management, and reporting.

The Need for Effective Case Management

Health and human service organizations provide some of the most critical programs and initiatives for communities. They can range from nutrition assistance to workforce development, and vary in scope, reach, and focus. Effective case management is important to organize these programs and communities.

These organizations deal with a variety of complexities in their daily work. Not only do they navigate sensitive situations with vulnerable populations, but they also must manage the demands of funders, policy initiatives, and regulations.

Effective case management systems are designed to help these service organizations optimize their efforts. With effective case management, social services can streamline their data, analytics, reporting, and intakes. Yet, not all case management systems are created equal. Some provide only the basics, but others have interfaces so complicated to navigate that they are not useful. How do you know that your case management system is checking all of the boxes?

What is Effective Case Management?

To understand the hallmarks of effective case management, it is important to understand exactly what case management is. Case management refers to the process of leading client cases. It includes a workflow involving client intake, assessments, milestone recording, and data reporting. Case management is primarily used for non-profits and social work. Although, other industries like law, medicine, and criminal investigation also use case management. 

Case management refers to the process of leading client cases.

Effective case management is most critical for jobs requiring human decision making. 

When it comes to working with people experiencing homelessness or domestic violence, 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 an algorithm alone cannot realistically do.  

Issues with case management can easily arise because of the nuanced nature of social work . 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, case management platforms become instrumental in combining the human element with the organization of a computerized system.

How Effective Case Management Looks

Understanding what case management is, it begs the question–how do you know which platform is most effective at what it does? Consider these four critical elements of effective case management systems: client intake and assessment, design tools, referral management, and reporting.

Client Intake and Assessment

Every case management system should be able to complete intakes, but not all of them will do it at the same level. Can you complete in-field assessments and intakes? Can you modify and design the intake to meet your organization’s unique outcomes? 

Effective client intake and assessment should be able to facilitate efficient and rapid capture of client information, enroll the client in services and programs, and automatically track and report on outcomes.

Design Tools

Another important indicator of industry-leading case management is the design tools it offers. Can you create your own workflows, forms, logic rules, and eligibility requirements? Are the tools intuitive and easy-to-use?

Powerful and expansive design tools are at the core of case management that can empower social service organizations to continue finding solutions as new needs arise.

Referral Management

Many case management systems are not capable of managing referrals at the level they need to be. This is important because referrals are at the heart of community care coordination. They also help social services maximize their outreach and ensure that resources are allocated to those who need them most.

You may want to stop and assess whether the case management platform provides closed-loop referrals, grants visibility into referral outcomes, and can track and record when referrals receive services. Doing so helps both the organizational structure as well as the principle of ensuring that nobody falls through the cracks.


One of the most important–and useful–elements of effective case management is reporting. Reports help organizations know what they are doing well, where they need to improve, and serve as valuable tools to help gather more funding and support.

When considering report functionality, top-tier case management systems are able to provide real-time reportings to all users within the system. This helps measure progress and provide accountability to stakeholders. Additionally, integrated data visualization tools can help bring reports to life and bring vision to the data.

Knowing When To Upgrade Your Case Management

These four elements of effective case management–client intake and assessment, design tools, referral management, and reporting–are just the beginning of what the most robust case management platforms can accomplish. Our industry-leading case management system ClientTrack™ is at the forefront of developing the best tools to help health and human service organizations accomplish their objectives.

Reach out here to learn more about ClientTrack.


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