What great timing for the ACMA (American Case Management Association) National Conference to be hosted in Houston this year! The winter has dragged on and on in the Midwest and our Chicago team definitely enjoyed the 80 degree temps. Cheering on the Houston Rockets during a playoff game was certainly a bonus! But more importantly, as with all great conferences, I had the opportunity to learn from and engage with folks from across the country. Stepping back and hearing about the challenges that case managers face as well as about the innovations that are on the horizon convinced me that the field is ripe for disruption. 

The future of case management lies in technology, according to Dr. Daniel Kraft, who talked passionately about the technological advances coming over the next decade. The tech geek in me loved hearing about incredible wearables, predictive analytics, and artificial intelligence when it comes to discharge planning but is this the reality for front-line case managers? I heard many opinions from those who visited our booth at ACMA. One case manager reflected that despite the attention paid to improve discharge planning, it continues to account for the most time-consuming fraction of her workload. Another stated that she had limited visibility into a patient’s care after they left the hospital. Here’s a mind-boggling statistic from ACMA: 80% of attendees still use the fax machine on a regular basis in their day-to-day work. If case managers are still connected by fax, then we have a ways to go to bridge the gap between the current and future states.

How to bridge this gap? Simplification in user interface is key when it comes to technology and implementation. I was excited to hear Bud Langham from Encompass Home Health describe Prepared Health as a “Facebook-like feed for care providers centered around patients.” As my 10 year old son likes to say, doesn’t everyone know how to use Facebook? The uncomplicated interface of the platform delivers accurate patient information at the point-of-care allowing case managers to do their work at the highest level. Behind the scenes is where the magic takes place. Here is where large amounts of patient care data are amassed and categorized. Here is where our Digital Nursing Assistant, DINA, analyzes the data concurrently and alerts providers and case managers to changes in a patient’s status. The background technology and analytics feed into the application and allow case managers to communicate efficiently.

My time at ACMA 2018 was well spent – meeting with different healthcare groups who shared their challenges with discharge planning and connecting with existing clients who experience each day the benefits of using the platform. I hope to see 2019 as a time that we see a true transformation of case management, leaving the fax machine behind and embracing the new technology that is here to stay. 

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