This book is about the progressive improvement of case management beyond that
which it exists to that of a practice specialty focused on professionalism and
collegiality across all practice settings. Our desire to produce a framework
for such practice began when we connected several years ago. It was a result
of a dialogue; the sharing of our stories and experiences. Separately, we were
already passionate about and committed to case management excellence. Together,
our vision coalesced to form this competency-based framework for advancing case
management captured by an acronym which defined the essence of professional
COLLABORATE was borne from a vision; the mandate to solidify a foundation for case management practice which combines unique action-oriented competencies, transcends professional disciplines, crosses over practice settings, and recognizes educational levels. The ultimate focus is on improving the client’s health care experience through the promotion of effective transdisciplinary collaboration. COLLABORATE recognizes the hierarchy of competencies and practice behaviors defined by the educational levels of all professionals engaged; associate, bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees across practice disciplines. Through this approach, every qualified health and human service professional has a valued place setting at case management’s ever-expanding table. Each of the competencies are presented as mutually exclusive and uniquely defined however, all are complementary and call on the practitioner to conduct work processes in a wholly integrated manner. While appearing in order for the acronym’s sake, they are not necessarily sequential. Ultimately, case management is an iterative process. When united in a comprehensive and strategic effort, the COLLABORATE competencies comprise a purpose-driven, powerful case management paradigm. The agility of this model extends to use of key concepts that include both action-oriented verbs and nouns, which are significant elements in any professional case management endeavor.
To date, case management practice models have been driven by care setting and/or business priorities. Unfortunately, this exclusivity has contributed to a lack of practice consistency due to shifting organizational and regulatory priorities. However, this is only one reason for a fragmented case management identity. COLLABORATE recognizes and leverages these important influencers as critical to successful practice and quality client outcomes.
Interprofessional education and teamwork are beginning to emerge as the means to facilitate relationship-building in the workplace. Through this approach, health care practitioners absorb the theoretical underpinning of intentionally work together in a mutually respectful manner which acknowledges the value of expertise of each care team stakeholder. This educational approach provides the opportunity to engage in clinical practice that incorporates the professional standards to which we hold ourselves accountable Innovative and emerging care coordination models, defined by evidence-based initiatives, appear across the industry. Each promotes attention to interprofessional practice in order to achieve quality patient-centered care. Herein lies an opportunity to demonstrate the value drawn from diverse expertise of case managers comprising the collective workforce. However a critical prefacing stage of this endeavor involves defining a core practice paradigm highlighting case management as a profession.
The diverse and complex nature of population health mandates that case management intervene from an interprofessional and collaborative stance. While inherent value is derived from the variety of disciplines, this advanced model unifies case management’s unique identity. Now is the time to define and adopt a competency-based model for professional case management. COLLABORATE provides this framework.
This text is presented in four sections:
- Section 1: Historical validation of why this practice paradigm is critical for case management to advance to a profession;
- Section 2: Presentation of the COLLABORATE paradigm, with a chapter to devoted to each distinct competency and the key elements;
- Section 3: Practical application of the book’s content for use by the individual case manager and at the organizational level; and
- The Epilogue: Summarizes the COLLABORATE approach in a forward-looking context.
For the reader with limited time, reviewing Section 2 provides the substantive meat associated with each of the competencies. Our ultimate desire is that the COLLABORATE approach provides an impetus for all stakeholders (e.g., practitioners, educational institutions, professional organizations) to take the necessary steps toward unified practice in order to facilitate the transition of case management considered as a task-driven job to its recognition as being a purpose-driven profession.