Athena Software Blog
10 ways your agency can work smarter with case management software
Posted by Neil McDonald on Mar. 3, 2016

Whether you're a mid-size or enterprise health and social services organization, you likely offer multiple services to your clients, perhaps across multiple locations.

Maybe your agency is currently using numerous unconnected systems to track your data, or maybe an outdated custom system, perhaps even paper and pen (or maybe all three!).

This might make it difficult to pull reports for funders and stakeholders, or just to get an accurate overview of each client or family's case and service history when needed.

As service delivery across the health and social services spectrum moves toward a more client-centric, outcomes-driven and inter-connected model, you need a case management software solution that provides your organization with:

  • best practice client management (with respect to: clinical practice, risk mitigation, outcomes management, security, care coordination, reporting and accountability)
  • effective operational administration (e.g. streamlined effort, improved client experience, and greater transparency)
  • decision support tools for staff to make informed, guided choices on service delivery options

The benefits of a comprehensive case management solution built on these principles mean you no longer need multiple software systems or clunky custom solutions, and that your agency can track all the data elements you want inside one simple, smart and connected system.

You'll also get standardized, consistent reporting, role-based security access, secure staff collaboration and transparent client engagement, all of which can help you track services provided across multiple programs in an efficient, user-friendly way.

As well, any case management system should be mobile, web-based and compatible with all major browsers to allow your staff access to the data they need whether they're at the office or in the field.

We may be biased, but we believe our very own Penelope case management software is the ideal solution for mid-size and enterprise organizations like yours looking for an innovative, elegant solution that saves you and your staff time, money and headaches.

Here's a brief 90-second animated overview!

And here are 10 ways case management software applications just like Penelope can help your organization work smarter today:

1. Smart Forms

Best-in-class case management systems like Penelope give you the power to create an unlimited number of custom, flexible form templates, whether you need agency-wide or program-specific forms, letters, case notes, treatment plans, outcomes assessments, and more.

Smart forms should also allow for intuitive features like auto-population of data (by pulling data already entered in the client's file into a corresponding field in a document to save tedious re-typing) or conditional formatting (so that the answer to a specific question prompts a user to complete a given section or series of subsequent questions, for example) that help increase organizational efficiency.

2. Smart Workflows

Advanced automated workflow and configurable action trigger capabilities also help promote efficiency, and improve client responsiveness and experience, while also ensuring adherence to regulatory and accreditation requirements, e.g. risk management, in-house best practices, and service planning and review.

3. Agency-Wide and Program-Specific Workflows

Action triggers are system settings that 'trigger' an action for users in the system, e.g. if a client meets a pre-defined criteria, the user is prompted to being collecting a specific set of documentation.

These should be configurable and designed to make sure the right information gets to the right people at the right time, and that critical tasks are done on time.

This helps promote accountability, while ensuring data is more complete, accurate and up-to-date.

In Penelope, each separate program can have its own workflows, while maintaining consistent workflows and processes for other key agency-wide areas, such as critical incident response, referrals, program entry and exit, case reviews, and so on.

4. Unified Case File Structure

One of the key components of our software is its unified case file structure, which means your staff get a single view of each client within their family structure to assist in case planning and communications, while also promoting transparency and service co-ordination across multiple programs.

You should not have duplicate entries for clients just because they're enrolled in more than one service! A client-centric model with a single point of entry and all client-related information in one place is ideal.

5. Client Engagement

Increasingly, clients expect the opportunity to engage with their service providers outside of regularly scheduled appointments.

In Penelope, our Engage feature can be used in conjunction with automated workflows to automatically send out initial paperwork to new intakes, follow-up forms after appointments, even client feedback forms after service exit.

Engage also allows staff and clients to chat online securely via discussions that form part of the client's permanent record, whether on their desktop, tablet or smartphone.

6. Staff Collaboration Tools

As well as staying in touch with clients, staff need to be able to stay in touch with each other, particularly in a multi-service operation where an individual may be receiving services from multiple providers in multiple programs.

A modern case management system containing the type of protected health information your agency manages should provide a secure means of doing so (not email!), and Penelope's Collaboration Suite is one such example - a personalized communications hub for each staff member, which provides them the ability to engage in clinical discussions and shared tasks and workflows, in a secure, encrypted manner.

7. Service Tracking

Penelope comes with a uniquely flexible way of tracking service delivery in an accurate, easily reportable way - in our system, you can create an unlimited number of service units (with respective units of measure and associated coding, e.g. DSM-V) so that you define the metrics and deliverables you are using to track service delivery.

Service units are simply added to a cart in each appointment to track billable and non-billable services alike in a user-friendly, intuitive way, with comprehensive reporting built right into the system.

8. Intuitive Intake Process

Adding new clients to your system should be an intuitive, fluid process, with access to place clients on a wait list, record referral information, even assign them into service and book the first appointment with minimal fuss.

Penelope’s configurable Intake Wizard allows for easy entry of new client information - whether you're adding an individual or an entire family (including inbound referral information, wait list placement, and required demographics), while our similarly intuitive Service Wizard enrolls the client in service and books the first appointment all in one easy step.

Ease of use, efficiency and accuracy mean your staff are working smarter!

9. Track Client Progress and Worker Productivity

Your client management system should provide your agency with information on worker performance via built-in reports that track case load metrics, appointment statistics, billing information, and much more.

Supervisors should be able to pull up and review case notes or access task completion progress for a particular worker, and Penelope includes Dr. Scott Miller’s Outcome Rating Scale / Session Rating Scale (ORS / SRS) assessment tool, which is used to track client progress and worker effectiveness.

10. Increase Your Business Intelligence

Reporting options should also be flexible in any client information tool - no system can promise to meet all of your organization's reporting needs out of the box.

The ability to export data for the purposes of creating custom queries and reports in third-party tools such as Excel or business intelligence software like Tableau is a must-have to generate the reports you'll need for stakeholders.

Penelope includes all of these things, and much more - a flexible, centralized scheduler and calendar tool, referral management, wait listing, a comprehensive accounts receivable billing package, the list goes on.

If you think your agency might benefit from Penelope's simple, smart and connected approach to case management, contact us today and an evaluation specialist will be in touch. We look forward to hearing from you!

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