It happened again. I was in the field going to visit a client and I got a call from a caseworker asking me for documents for a court appearance that morning. The trouble is, she didn’t give me any warning and I didn’t have those particular files with me. I just couldn’t get them to her in time, and so the court hearing had to be rescheduled. And then we wonder why the courts are so clogged, and why cases don’t get resolved when they should.
In the unpredictable world of the social services industry, everyone knows case managers juggle many responsibilities while managing overwhelming caseloads. Studies have reported that significant amounts of paperwork and large caseloads are some of the leading causes of burnout and high turnover for case managers. Case managers have to meet deadlines set by their agencies, and with everyone being so busy, it’s hard to schedule time to coordinate cases. Then you have to be careful to only share the information you’re allowed to with only the right professionals. No wonder it’s so hard to make a difference.
For example, when a client has a crisis where they are hospitalized or put in jail, a case manager will need to input a crisis note to their own system within 24 hours. The other providers don’t know this has happened, and can only find out if they call around all the different providers, to see if anyone knows what has happened to the client. What a waste of time!
A mobility tool would be helpful in many situations like this, where all care providers could be notified immediately of the client’s crisis, so they could each respond. In the first example, it would be possible to securely share the documents needed by the court right from my phone, so the case could have been resolved. More than that, being able to make notes in my client meetings would save me many hours working late to keep my notes up-to-date, and I’d be less likely to forget something important. Of course, we’d need the tool to keep track of those interactions for audit purposes. When I go to the store, I can sign my credit card slip with an electronic pen. I should be able to sign documents on my phone too. It’s clear to me that a mobility tool would help case managers in the field handle their large caseloads to provide continuity of care to clients.
By: OluMayowa Ojemuyiwa