Accessibility, Visibility Reasons to Embed Case Managers into Primary Care, Workplace

Thursday, April 30th, 2015
This post was written by Cheryl Miller

When case managers are embedded into primary care workplaces, both patients and staff benefit, says Melanie Fox BSN, RN, director of embedded case management with Caldwell UNC Healthcare. Instead of delaying a patient’s request for care, staff workers are more likely to address it by going directly to the case manager on site. And some patients are more likely to directly ask the case manager, who they might previously have contacted telephonically.

Some people have embedded case managers but they might not be embedded in the practices. Our case managers are on site. They are available. They are visible. That makes it easy for the staff and the patients because sometimes they’ll think that patient may need something, but are unsure how to make that happen for that patient.

Then they see us or they remember we’re here. They’ll come to us and ask for help, trying to get that patient what they need, whether it be hospice services, VNA services, or just watching a patient’s blood pressure or hemoglobin A1C. If you’re there visible, it makes it so much easier for the staff and as well as the patients.

We have patients that drop by our offices just to see who we are because we’ve talked to them over the telephone. The visibility from us being in the office is great. We seem to be more accepted by the providers and the staff because of that, as well as the patients because they see us as part of the team. They see us working in the office. Sometimes, when we make a phone call to the home, they may accept it sometimes a little better because we’re calling from our clinics. When we mention where we are calling from and the name of the doctor we’re working with, then they’ll talk to us a little more willingly.

It makes that easier. It also helps to engage the patients in the office because they are here. A staff member will pull us into an office and let us know that one of the patients is here to talk to them. We have found that just being in the office is a great asset for the doctors as well as ourselves. It makes our jobs a little bit easier.

Source: Embedded Case Management in Primary Care and Workplace Clinics: Skill Sets, Stratification and Protocols

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