CMSA Today - Issue 3, 2012 - (Page 5)

CMSA President’s Letter BALANCING THE ART AND THE  SCIENCE OF CASE MANAGEMENT e all take on numerous balancing acts in our lives, and juggling work responsibilities with family and personal life is probably one of the biggest balancing acts we do. But in the professional world of case management, there is a balancing act that is just as important — and that is balancing the art and the science of case management. The science of case management involves anticipating an event or outcome and then applying the knowledge of what we know works. For example, we anticipate characteristics of patients that are most likely to benefit from case management services and target outreach efforts to that population. We anticipate what interventions are most likely to most benefit a patient by turning to valid clinical practice guidelines and comparative effectiveness research to guide our assessment, planning, monitoring, and evaluation efforts. We use medical management systems and software that capture assessment and care planning data so that outcomes can be effectively measured and analyzed. The art of case management is all about the way we communicate and interact with our patients. The art of case management requires caring, compassion, empathy, mindfulness and being “in the moment” with the patient. The tools we use to advance the art of case management are active listening and meaningful conversations. When you think about it, case management is really about building relationships, and building relationships is all about having meaningful and personal conversations. The art of case management also involves seeing the “big picture” of the patient’s current situation including strengths, barriers to adherence, psychosocial support, financial and environmental issues, family dynamics, and many other factors. These of course will be different for every individual, and thus we can’t rely on scientific evidence to present the “big picture” for us. This is where critical thinking – the art of active listening, thinking out of the box, and “connecting the dots” – comes into play. The art and science aspects of case management truly work hand-in-hand. For example, conducting an assessment with a patient requires a perfect W BY MARY BETH NEWMAN, MSN, RN-BC, CMAC, CCP, CCM An effective case manager is one who is flexible, creative, caring, and openminded, has good active listening skills, is outcome focused, and is able to see and respond to the “big picture” for each patient. balance of art and science. We certainly need to use technology to drive a comprehensive, individualized, evidence-based assessment (the “science” part). However, we also need to be sure that we don’t fall into the trap of simply reading an endless list of questions to the patient and recording their answers. There needs to be time spent on establishing rapport and trust, which happens through relationship-building conversations (the “art” part). In fact, asking open-ended questions and actively listening and responding to the patient’s answers can provide most of the information needed for any assessment! The art of conversation quickly becomes a lost art when a case manager is focused on how quickly all the boxes and fields on an assessment can be clicked on and filled in. An organization that measures case management “productivity“ on this basis alone is missing the mark and undermines the value that meaningful and personal conversation plays in achieving successful outcomes. Case management requires a number of elements working in unison and harmony to achieve successful outcomes. Effectively applying the case management process involves both art and science. Critical thinking is truly the bridge between the art and science of case management. An effective case manager is one who is flexible, creative, caring, and open-minded, has good active listening skills, is outcome focused, and is able to see and respond to the “big picture” for each patient. Interestingly enough, these are exactly the characteristics of critical thinkers! Advancing the science of case management takes a high degree of critical thinking, which in turn is dependent upon the more artful aspects of case management. Take some time to reflect on how you can best achieve balance between the art and science of case management in your everyday practice. Mary Beth Newman, MSN, RN-BC, CMAC, CCP, CCM CMSA President, 2011-2012 Issue 3 • 2012 • DIGITAL CMSA TODAY 5

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of CMSA Today - Issue 3, 2012

President's Letter
The Art and Science of Integrated Case Management
Evidence-Based Practice Is an Art, Not Just a Science
Facilitating Change When Change is Hard-The Work of Professional Health & Wellness Coaches
Does Discharge Planning Really Begin at Admission? (Part 3 of 3)
The Massachusetts Revolution for a Resolution to Obtain MSL
CMSA Corporate Partners
Association News
Index of Advertisers

CMSA Today - Issue 3, 2012