Historically, hospital case management has relied on two traditional models, the dyad (integrated) model and the triad (collaborative) model. In the dyad model, one case manager performs utilization management (UM) and discharge planning (DP). The triad model involves two case managers, one performing UM and another performing DP, as well as a social worker managing a patient’s psychosocial needs. Practically speaking, many hospitals use a hybrid strategy that incorporates both models. These approaches, however, are falling short in addressing today’s economic and market conditions including healthcare labor shortages. As a result, there are individuals within the healthcare industry who are advocating for a new solution called dynamic case management.
What is Dynamic Case Management?
Dynamic case management relies on an outsourcing model to build experienced clinical teams that perform their duties, across areas of case management including emergency department case management, on a 24/7, 365-day basis from anywhere around the country or world. Technology plays a considerable role in dynamic case management by facilitating remote working by nurse case managers. From any location, nurses can access the hospitals’ telehealth platform and patients’ electronic health records to provide various case management services. That’s not to say, however, that in-person case management is never provided.
More Effectively Meeting Peak Demands
One area where dynamic case management specifically demonstrates its value is during peak demand periods. Using the hospital emergency department as an example, demand peaks in the late afternoon and early evening. Because case management staff is already stretched, often, certain tasks are pushed off until the next day. This leads to a large backlog for hospital case managers. With a support team available 24/7, 365 days, this situation can be reduced.
Enhanced Patient and Family Communications
Also improved with dynamic case management is the ability to improve communication between a case manager and a patient and his/her family members. Conflicting schedules from work, childcare, etc., often make it difficult to coordinate a time to speak with both a patient and family member(s) at the same time. Remote case managers, working in various time zones, can be available on days/times which would otherwise have been challenging, thereby alleviating this problem. The scheduling flexibility afforded by dynamic case management also enables other members of the patient’s care team (e.g., primary care physician, specialists, social worker, etc.) to participate in a call and/or virtual meeting.
In short, dynamic case management delivers a cost-effective solution to a persistent problem today’s hospitals face relating to labor shortages, economic issues, and operational challenges. While doing so, it also delivers a patient-centric case management service which can be critical in supporting optimal patient outcomes.