How important is technology in case management?
Why is technology important when selecting a case management company?
There are a lot of case management companies in the UK to choose from. When you need a Case Manager, you want to know they will be backed-up by the best possible case management technology systems. So, you get the support and service you need when you need it.
At the same time, when you or a family member has recently experienced a life changing injury you need more than impersonal technology and processes. You want a Case Manager you can build a relationship with and trust. At Breakthrough we are always human first – while bringing in the best technology available to support our clients in their rehabilitation and care.
Adapting to change with technology as a case management company
Technology and having the right systems in place were essential in our response to the pandemic. And we learned valuable lessons from the experience that have improved the way we work now.
Before lockdowns, our Case Managers travelled a lot more. When the SarsCov2 pandemic arrived in the UK, maintaining face-to-face support was vital for Breakthrough Care clients, but meeting in person was less safe for our vulnerable case management clients. We fully embraced video conferencing and upgraded our Zoom account almost immediately. Not only did this allow us to maintain business continuity and a high-quality service for case management clients, but it also brought us closer as a team.
We recently conducted a technology audit in our push to connect with clients and colleagues. This led to the introduction of a new and robust shared drive for documents, with updated IT systems and support that safeguard service continuity, data privacy and security. In addition, we have established a variety of online resources to support new starters, as well as the ongoing personal development of the team. And we also share best practice and news on a very supportive and lively team WhatsApp group!
Can technology replace Case Managers?
With developments in technology, perhaps in theory it might be possible for our Case Managers to work completely remotely – from their clients and the rest of the team. This might meet basic standards, but people need people, so this way of working will never meet the high standards at the heart of Breakthrough. Trust and personal connection are essential to building the strong relationships required for effective case management.
All the efficiencies that come with technology save us time we can then spend with our clients. From the very first crucial assessment, regular face-to-face contact with a Breakthrough Case Manager is fundamental. You can pick up valuable information in-person, from the surrounding environment and non-verbal communication, that you just don’t get on a video call.
We believe that technology will never replace human clinical case managers. Because whether it’s case management or rehabilitation focused care, technology can’t replicate a cup of tea, a conversation, personal connection and ‘hands on’ support.
Advances in rehabilitative and assistive technology
In addition to technology assisted case management, the growing availability of rehabilitative and assistive technology is also increasing quality of life for many of our clients. These tools aim to restore human functions using technology, allowing an individual with a disability to complete certain tasks and activities – and most importantly restore independence.
To support our complex case management service, we constantly scan the environment for the latest technological developments that might help our clients. This might be robotics and exoskeletons that help people improve function in their arms or legs after a brain or spinal cord injury. Or eye gaze technology that helps individuals control the temperature, doors, or curtains, reducing their reliance on 24-hour care.
It’s a rapidly changing market and we make sure we’re aware of every resource out there – even technology that’s in its very early stages. We look for potential trials and upcoming products, audit any piece of equipment we try, and store all the information on an internal database.
Of course, not every piece of equipment will be right for everyone – age, fitness level and gender all have an impact. These resources cost a lot of money, so our work isn’t just about using the latest flashy gadget with all the bells and whistles. We ensure the technology is right for the individual, and its application is justifiable with well documented evidence to support how it augments their life.
With the right equipment, the best therapists, and a lot of hard work from the client we have seen people participate in activities that were previously unimaginable. One client recently climbed Snowdon on a hand controlled, three wheeled, adaptive bike. It was truly inspirational.
Adaptable technology to support business growth
Improvements in technology have allowed us to expand the services we offer. In particular the rehabilitation focused care we deliver through Breakthrough Care. Again, we only bring in the best technology that’s right for our clients and our business.
When it came to selecting a care software package, for example, meeting the standards required by the regulator wasn’t sufficient. We wanted to exceed them. This involved a rigorous process, looking at every potential product on the market and trying them all. We’re a very niche business, so the software we adopted had to be adaptable to our specific needs.
At the same time, good software doesn’t work in isolation. Our Home Care Operations Manager is there to ensure we use the technology in the best way to support our clients and get the most out of our investment. This includes regular audits, which can be carried out remotely, and visiting support staff in-person to conduct appraisals.
Quality of life
Our unwavering focus is on supporting the individuals and families we work with to improve their quality of life. Flexibility and responsiveness to change is vital to achieving this. We never get overly reliant on existing tools or ways of doing things, and we’re always looking out for new technology.
However, while technology supports us to work more efficiently and effectively, we couldn’t function without our people. As our business develops and grows, our skilled team will continue to work hand in hand with technology. We might bring on more advanced technology to support our clients – but we will always be people first.