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A Voice for Patients: The Branding of Case Management


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Every product on the market has a brand—a tag line that defines the concept of the product. Usually an easy to remember phrase that when heard conjures up a mental picture of the product and maybe even pleasant memories of experiences that included the product. Recall the product that used this branding? “____________; For Those Who Think Young.” How about this one for those who live in the Metroplex? “If You’re Not Shopping With Me, You’re Burning Money.” Even actors are branded. How about, “Make My Day,” or “I’ll Be Back,”? Healthcare is no exception. Hospitals have been branding for years. Using tag lines to project the message that their services are superior and their staff the most caring. Managed care companies have also identified the importance of branding themselves and their products. Most recently, nursing has begun to move into a position of branding their services. Johnson & Johnson has sponsored a number of television commercials and print ads featuring nurses at the bedside. They depict the care and sensitivity that is associated with nursing. It has often been said that case management is the best kept secret in healthcare. We go about our business of saving the day without fanfare or the expectation of praise. It is 2 | C a s e m anagementconnector.com

what we do, who we are. We affect the lives of those of whom we serve and ask for nothing in return. And all too often the clients we serve don’t even realize the impact we’ve had on their lives. Many are unaware that they have even received case management services and wouldn’t be able to recall the name of their case manager if asked. And we continue to do what we do, anonymous and unrecognized. Always marching to the mantra, “Patient Advocate.” The most current phrase that healthcare professionals are using in their own organizations to define their purpose is “Patient Centric.” By definition, healthcare centers on the recipient of the services provided. Every area of healthcare can accurately say that they are “Patient Centric.” The revival of this focus is likely the product of the black eye that healthcare in general has endured over the last few years. The press related to the big bad managed care companies denying life giving care; hospitals more focused on heads in the beds than the individuals who occupy those beds; physicians vying for business and running patients through their offices like an assembly line. Then there is the matter of healthcare reform. What a mess that has turned out to be and is still undetermined. So it makes sense that healthcare payors and providers see the need to develop a “kinder, gentler” persona. What better way than to focus on the reason they exist: the patient. So it is that every area of healthcare and every healthcare specialty can say they are patient centric. It’s like returning to the basics of their purpose. Patient Centric has become the brand of most healthcare professions. So does case management jump on the Patient Centric bandwagon and become just one more healthcare profession announcing their focus to be Patient Centric? Patient Centric is really a generic term. If all of


healthcare is using it as their brand, it really becomes a broad definition of many things while specifically defining little. But case management is definitely Patient Centric, is it not? Our steadfast role as patient advocate certainly makes the practice of case management Patient Centric. And regardless if we are employed in hospital, payor, workers comp or any other are of case management, we focus all of our efforts around ensuring the best outcome for our clients. That further makes us Patient Centric. However, to adopt a brand that has become a generic phrase for all of healthcare does not do our profession justice. What is it about the practice of case management that makes our version of Patient Centric different? How do we set ourselves apart from the multitude of other healthcare professions who are Patient

Centric? When considering this question we are forced to also consider the fact that case management is practiced in a multitude of settings under a multitude of titles by a multitude of clinical backgrounds. At the recent national CMSA conference it was noted that there are currently 26 recognized titles for the practice of case management. Case Manager, Care Coordinator, Patient Navigator, Clinical Resource Manager, Care Manager are only a few. Then there are all the settings for practicing case management: every area of healthcare provider, managed care, Medicaid, Medicare, Medicare Replacement, Worker Comp, disability, independent and so on. After that, the various clinical areas represented in case management are nursing, social work, speech/physical/occupational therapists, pharmacists and more.

casema n a g e m e n t c o n n e c t o r . c o m |

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What do all these titles and all these practice settings and all these clinical areas share in common? They are all Patient Centric. Okay, let’s build on that to discover what about case management stands above the Patient Centric label. All areas of practice want good outcomes. All work to ensure the client receives the most appropriate level of care. All must be good stewards of the payor fund. All must give the client the information required for them to make informed healthcare decisions. All

“It has often been said that case management is the best kept secret in healthcare. We go about our business of saving the day without fanfare or the expectation of praise. It is what we do, who we are. We affect the lives of those of whom we serve and ask for nothing in return.” are activists in obtaining services for the client. All are held to the Case Management Standards of Practice. What is the one word that best describes what case managers in every area practice do? ADVOCATE. By definition an advocate is one who argues or pleads for a causes. Synonyms for advocate include promote, advance, cultivate, encourage, foster and hearten. Pretty much the definition of case management, isn’t it? Taking for granted that case management, along with all of healthcare, is Patient Centric, and what further defines case management above that generic label is the way in which we Advocate for our clients by promoting 4 | C a s e m anagementconnector.com

quality healthcare services, advancing the practice of case management through education and certification, cultivating positive relationships among our healthcare peers to ensure the most appropriate services, encouraging our clients to become engaged and informed decision makers, fostering the best utilization of the payor fund while obtaining necessary services and heartening those new case managers to success by mentoring and encouragement. Our clients reap the benefit from each of these endeavors. And by involving the client in their own healthcare they become better equipped to manage their own health needs. So while other healthcare professions perform services on the client, case managers provide services in partnership with the client. That pretty much says it. So as we realize the importance of branding and examine how best to brand case management, keep in mind that case management is anything but generic. We can embrace healthcare’s general tag line of Patient Centric. But what sets us apart and makes us the voice of our clients is our mantel of Advocacy: Case Management, The Patient’s Voice in Healthcare. bkandassoc@verizon.net


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Licensed, Certified, and Experienced Occupational Speech-Language

Shortand Long-Term Care Available Health Care Professionals

Available 24/7, 365 Days a Year • • • 24/7 Liveand On-Call Client Service ShortLong-Term Care Available Coordinators

Licensed, Certified, Experienced • • 24/7 Live On-Call Client Service Nurses and Therapists Coordinators

For• more information, visit us online. Shortand Long-Term Care Available

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integrated system. Contactsupport Your Local Office to Learn How We Can Provide Epic Care to Your Patients

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Case Management Social Work Pennsylvania  

The Branding of Case Management: A Voice for Patients.

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