What is a Case Management System?
Case management systems are software systems that allow you to keep track of all the client data you need to deliver effective programs and services.
They allow you to compile vast amounts of information that can be accessed easily and quickly (more so than paper-based filing systems or Excel.) They can also perform some data analysis tasks automatically, saving you time and reducing error.
Different case management systems offer different functions. They also differ depending on the industry they’re designed to support.
For example, a law firm would need a case management system that manages billing; a healthcare organization may want a system that simplifies patient intake and identifies high-risk patients; and a government agency may want a system that helps analyze the connection between their programs and the impact in the community.
Customer Relationship Management vs. Case Management
Public sector organizations that benefit from case management systems are usually direct service providers (eg. public health organizations, government agencies, nonprofits, etc.)
The business equivalent of case management is referred to as “customer relationship management” systems or “CRM.” CRM systems are generally designed to help sales teams manage the entire process of communicating with prospects and getting more paid customers.
Some organizations use CRM systems like Salesforce for case management because they are attracted by its widespread usage, free versions, numerous system integrations, and powerful analytic functions.
However, systems like Salesforce are not ideal for public sector use.
According to Russell Katz, Professional Services Consultant at NeonCRM, when it comes to Salesforce for nonprofits:
- Free isn’t really free – Salesforce takes a lot of time to set up and learn how to use. Many organizations end up needing consultants and training services to use the system effectively. Therefore, free isn’t really free when it comes to setting up the system.
- Too many features can create confusion – Salesforce offers many apps, features, and system integrations to help you analyze your data, but it’s difficult to know which apps to use. It may not offer the integrations you need to do your job effectively.
- There are competing philosophies – CRM systems are designed to manage customer interactions and create paid customers. Therefore, their features are better suited to support the goals of private businesses.
- Reporting is mismatched – “Instead of having nonprofit focused key performance indicators (KPIs) built on nonprofit best practices, your organization will need to configure campaigns and opportunities to flow and adjust around all the different ways that nonprofits manage prospects…”
Cloud-Based Systems vs. Downloaded Systems
Cloud-based case management systems are accessed via the Internet, as opposed to being downloaded onto a computer.
There are many benefits of using cloud-based systems instead of downloaded software, including enhanced security and remote access.
Security: Generally speaking, cloud-based case management systems are significantly more secure than downloaded software like Excel. Cloud-based systems are built with a more rigorous focus on security. The information doesn’t have to be continually copied and transferred since it can be accessed in one location. You can also manage who has access to the system and keep a log of who accessed what information when.
Access: Instead of downloading software onto different computers, you will be able to access cloud-based systems on any computer with an Internet connection. Information is updated automatically system-wide to reduce repetitive data entry.
The Benefits of Cloud-Based Case Management Systems
Cloud-based case management software systems are all different, but they usually all:
- Store vast amounts of data
- Improve organization
- Are easier to navigate
- Automate certain time-consuming tasks
- Keep information more secure
- Take less time to learn and use
- Help analyze program performance
- Simplify the referral process
- Are designed for use by specific industries
- Improve collaboration
- Facilitate communication
- Can be accessed remotely via a secure connection
Public Sector Case Management
If you are in the public sector, you should select a system built to support your specific goals and activities. Generally, these will include the management of client-level data, program performance analysis, and surveying.
When looking for a case management system, look for a cloud-based system that offers the following features:
- Participant Management – organize case records and group them for easy deployment of surveys.
- Survey Creation and Deployment – design surveys that help you quickly collect data on your participants.
- Analytics – make better meaning of your data by segmenting various demographics and auto-feeding it into your performance management system.
- Referral Management – collaborate with community partners and help customers access additional services.
Read this blog to learn four reasons you should upgrade your case management from Excel to a cloud-based system.