An In-Depth Look at Collaborative Case Management

• Case Management

Effective case management is one of the most important features of any successful organization. Seeing a case through from beginning to end⁠—and collaborating with the right people on the case—can help improve knowledge-driven work and enhance general processes to optimize outcomes.

Collaboration has always been a crucial aspect of a business, but it has become more vital as the world has become fully interconnected through the internet and technology.

What is collaborative case management?

Collaborative case management involves multiple actors to bring cases to a resolved or closed state. Actors may include customers, clients, service providers, case managers, data administrators, and many others. Each actor is involved in adding information to the case and moving it closer to completion. 

For collaborative case management to be successful, there must be a knowledge worker leading the case—the person who communicates with every stakeholder. Collaboration brings together all stakeholders and all the information required to accurately complete processes throughout the entire life cycle of a case. The case management processes can either be completed parallelly or sequentially.

Case management can never be successful if case workers do not collaborate with all the stakeholders involved because there’s nothing to anchor them together. When clients and case workers have a customizable platform with tailored processes and workflows, they can easily access shared information and stay aligned on the goals, strategies, and other important details. 

The platform also creates a forum for consistent and timely communication, promoting transparency and close collaboration. This prevents the issue of case workers and clients thinking they are working collaboratively, only to find out later that the organization’s strategies were never aligned with the clients’ goals and expectations.

Ineffective collaboration between case workers and other stakeholders can lead to serious lapses in service delivery.

How can case workers collaborate on cases? 3 Real-life examples

When case workers collaborate with all the people involved, they can easily assess, plan, implement, coordinate, monitor, and evaluate the different options required to handle specific cases. They can use communication and all the available resources to achieve quality and cost-effective outcomes. Below are some examples of how coworkers can collaborate in different industries. 

In the legal industry

In the legal industry, the growing complexity of legal work—work that is multijurisdictional and cross-practice in nature—calls for lawyers to collaborate across organizational and expertise boundaries. Research has shown that when lawyers work across specialties, their customer retention rates increase, their firms earn more money, and they are able to charge more for the work they do. 

By putting less emphasis on input measures like billable hours and more emphasis on output variables such as breadth of services per client, law firms can lower collaboration barriers and get higher-value work.

In the insurance sector

In this sector, health insurance companies can hire nurse case managers to help manage care for the insured members. These case managers can collaborate with primary care providers and develop care plans, observe ongoing symptoms, and teach patients how to manage their conditions. 

By doing this, they can build continuity of care and also ensure patients receive important tests and procedures. This type of collaboration has been shown to improve health outcomes. Patients are also able to avoid unnecessary hospitalizations and medical complications.

In the construction industry

In this field, it is important to keep all stakeholders updated at all times across the project timeline. In most cases, contractors usually hire subcontractors to perform certain tasks during the course of the project. For example, if a contractor is contracted to build a fiber-optic network, they can hire subcontractors to lay the fiber optics. 

If the contractor uses a collaboration tool, subcontractors can easily log in, even when they are in the excavators digging up and breaking through terrain to lay fiber optics. They can easily access the central platform, communicate with the contractor or other subcontractors, and resolve any problems they encounter while digging. This ensures they solve problems quickly; it also prevents project delays.

How does collaboration improve case management?

It Enhances alignment with stakeholders

Collaboration enables case managers to not only join forces internally, but to also focus on external collaboration with business partners, customers, and vendors—the stakeholders that are directly affected by a company’s products and projects.

For example, if a company is in the process of developing a product, it can leverage customers’ feedback to make the product better. And because of that, there will be better alignment between the product’s features and clients’ actual needs.

Accelerates business velocity

When your business has a collaborative culture, you are able to get products to the market quickly. Collaboration enhances communication, speeding up the entire production process and making it easier to create products. As a result, your organization’s ability to create value improves. By using a collaboration tool, case workers can check the status of various cases, and this allows them to move on to the next processes quickly.

Improves flexibility

When collaboration improves, so does a company’s ability to handle sudden change. Collaboration makes it easier to adapt when customers’ preferences change, governments institute new regulations, or disruptive technologies are created. Collaboration and teamwork are the foundations of work methodologies like Kissflow which allow knowledge workers to be more flexible and responsive. 

Boosts individual productivity

According to a study carried out by Stanford University a few years ago, even the mere perception of collaborating on a task can improve an employee’s performance. The study showed that people who work collaboratively on tasks can focus 64% longer than those who handle tasks individually. They also have higher engagement levels, low fatigue levels, and a high success rate.