Transferring Telephonic Skills to Face-to-Face, Embedded Case Management

Thursday, May 1st, 2014
This post was written by Cheryl Miller

Because many case managers come from telephonic backgrounds, embedding them in physician practices—an essentially new role—requires the right mix of qualifications and characteristics to handle face-to-face interactions, says Annette Watson, senior vice president of community transformation for Taconic Professional Resources. Case managers that are change agents, who are enthusiastic and welcome collaboration and have registered nurse experience, are part of the mix of qualifications and qualities that have proved successful for this role.

Question: What qualities and qualifications does Taconic seek in its embedded case managers?

Response (Annette Watson): We’re looking for our case managers to be registered nurses in the State of New York with unrestricted licenses to practice. Part of that background is that nurses have a wide ranging education that makes them generally able to care for chronically and complexly ill patients. In the physician’s practice setting, that qualification is really what we look at as a baseline for entry into this field. We then, at Taconic, look for them to have a certification as a case manager prior to their coming to us. That would either be a certified case manager (CCM) designation, or a registered nurse (RN) with a case manager (CM) designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center, or an RN CM.

Both of those represent an experientially based qualification. That means that we don’t have to teach them from the baseline what case management is. But what we’re doing is refining skills for this new setting.

We also look for experience relative to case management work in a setting that has them working in a collaborative environment with physicians and patients prior to getting there that would create a transferable skill set.

Many times case managers have been deployed in settings where they’re telephonically based or don’t have direct contact with either physicians in practice or with patients in a telephonic model. We find that that’s a transition from one setting to the other that doesn’t always work without a lot of ability to overcome obstacles and create an environment where face to face interactions go well. So those are just some of the things that we’re looking for in background.

Lastly, in terms of qualities, we’re really looking at what we call ‘the right stuff.’ A personality type where people are enthusiastic about the work, are positive about the type of new groundbreaking work that they’re going to be doing in these new settings, often which is they’re often new to a practice and new to a role, so they’re very much an ambassador of what case management is. Those kinds of personality traits that make them change agents and collaborative and enthusiastic in the setting are all part of that mix of the qualifications and qualities that we look for.

Excerpted from Advancing Primary Care with Embedded Case Management: Lessons from the Taconic IPA Pilot

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