In 2017, the number of US data breach incidents hit a record high of 1,579, compromising more than 178 billion records, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center. That same year, private industry employers reported approximately 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses.
These numbers, which still don’t include workplace violence, harassment and discrimination, demonstrate the sheer volume of cases nationwide that employers must respond to, address and investigate.
Tracking incidents, investigating fraud and monitoring discrimination keeps an organization busy, but the right case management system could help with a lot of the work. Effective software can save you time, money and effort by helping your investigators and HR teams work smarter and more efficiently.
Many companies offer case management solutions and with such a saturated market it can be difficult to recognize which system is right for you. One system will complement your processes whereas another will replace them.
Download our Buyer’s Guide to learn about assessing and comparing providers, return on investment and tips for getting buy-in.
We created this list of the top 10 features of a case management system that will help you track incidents, conduct investigations, share information, keep up with deadlines and report on your cases.
A centralized database is the defining feature of a great case management system. Anything you put into the system, whether it’s a case note, audio or video file, report, graph, task, deadline or the accused’s contact information, is stored in one central repository that’s safe, secure and searchable.
Using a case management system with a centralized database is far superior to using an Excel spreadsheet or a filing cabinet. A centralized database means that users don’t “have to go to 14 different places” to find what they need.
Being able to store all case data in a single location also means no more misplaced forms and no more waiting hours, or sometimes days, to get your hands on the single physical file. The case management system lets you share access to all case files instantly.
A centralized database makes it easy to search for and find a piece of information in seconds. It facilitates information sharing and encourages collaboration between the team, speeding up case progress and success.
To effectively foster collaboration, your case management system should support multi-user access. The system should allow the users to share information securely, and in real-time, through a central application available to everyone involved in the case.
Los Angeles Metro appreciates that they “don’t have to rely on bodies to provide information” and that they can look information up “regardless of who has ownership of the case”.
The centralized case file and multi-user access capabilities have allowed the LA Metro team to collaborate and respond quickly to issues.
Why is Multi-User Access Important?
Multi-user access ensures smooth handoffs between tasks and instant access to the most up to date information, for more effective and efficient resolution of cases.
The ability to work in the case management system together improves team productivity and facilitates cooperation. Employees can do more in less time, making them more efficient and more effective in their jobs.
A great case management system will offer insightful data analysis and business intelligence tools. Built-in intelligence tools, such as reporting dashboards, charts, maps, graphs and more, help you make sense of the metrics and data gathered.
The more advanced case management systems let you create reports about specific locations, cases, complaints or individuals. Want to identify the biggest risks at your San Francisco office? Create a pie chart (in just a few clicks) about incidents at that particular office for an easy-to-understand visual display.
Why Should You Look for Data Analysis Tools?
Built-in data analysis tools let you track and display metrics so you can identify trends and make better, more informed decisions.
Being able to dive deep into data through reports provides valuable insight to mitigate risks to employees and improve business operations. And when the reporting tools are built into the same system where the data is recorded, you can create your graphs in seconds without ever needing to import files or switch between screens.
This important feature has less to do with the case management system and more to do with the company providing it. Before agreeing on a provider, take a look at their customer service track record.
Does the company offer quality, ongoing support? What is the average response time? Will someone be available 24/7 or only during business hours?
Find a provider that lets you be involved in the development. It’s important that the company allows you to test the product and see what works and what doesn’t for two reasons. First, it helps you become acquainted with the system much earlier on in the process for a smoother handover and second so that the final result is perfect when it’s finally complete.
Why is Exceptional Service and Support Necessary?
When you reach out with a request, question or concern, you’ll expect the software provider to be responsive and timely. Unfortunately, some companies will work with you to build a great, customized system and bend over backward during implementation, to then only reach out once a year when it’s payment time.
We have over 20 years experience onboarding and supporting customers. Learn about our best practices here.
When a glitch occurs, you’ll want a provider that goes above and beyond to find a permanent fix. If the workflow isn’t quite right, you’ll want a provider that works with you to identify a better process. And if you have a question about the interface, you’ll want a provider that gives you a respectful answer.
A good case management system simplifies your job. However, a great case management system can streamline, standardize and even automate certain parts of your job. More advanced systems offer workflow and scheduling capabilities customized to your own processes.
Case management software is a wise investment because it keeps investigations on track, reducing the financial impact. Learn more in The ROI of Internal Investigations eBook.
For example, a construction company that must record health and safety incidents can create a custom workflow in the case management system, prompting them to record all of the details they’re legally required to track. Input fields can be configured with formatted or pre-set answers, standardizing information collection to best practices.
How are Workflow and Scheduling Capabilities Beneficial?
Case management systems with standardized input fields and configurable workflows help companies comply with relevant regulations and laws. For USANA Health Sciences, customizable workflow capabilities were imperative.
For HHCM, many of the vendors they considered couldn’t provide the customization needed.
It’s important that your case management system is designed to incorporate your company’s key success factors and performance indicators.
An out-of-the-box system may not have the rules, workflow or flexibility you need. And, what good is software missing tools you’d use, or offering (and charging for) tools you won’t?
A flexible case management platform can be customized to fit the requirements of any business. In fact, municipal offices use case management systems to handle requests for health care services. Tobacco manufacturers and distributors use it to manage consumer feedback. Universities and colleges across the US use software to record student complaints and conduct investigations.
Why Do I Need a System that is Configurable?
When your software is configured to your needs, it can help you improve compliance. The provider builds the system based on your incident tracking requirements, your reporting deadlines and any other legal obligations in your industry.
Another reason why flexibility is so important in case management software is that it can grow and expand with you. Often after implementation, system users will find additional uses for the software, or another department will want to incorporate it in their work too.
At times like these, it’s ideal to have a configurable, scalable case management system that can be easily modified to meet the needs of the new users or processes.
It’s important that your case management software is web-based and accessible anywhere you are. Web-based software means users can easily access data from anywhere, as long as there is an internet connection. It also means they can connect using any device including computers, tablets and even smartphones.
Easy access is important for businesses that have employees that travel frequently or work “in the field”. A caregiver at an elderly patient’s home could use the system to track complaints. The supervisor at a construction site can record health and safety incidents immediately. A private investigator can take notes as they conduct surveillance.
What are the Benefits of Web-Based Case Management Systems?
Accessible, web-based software saves time and money. When you purchase a system with this feature, your field workers will no longer have to write down case notes by hand, drive to the office and file the form in the right cabinet.
In addition to saving time and money, the convenience of the system makes sure no important details get forgotten along the way. When your case management system is always available, you can jot down notes as you think of them, instead of relying on your memory to last until you make it back to the office.
Security standards should be one of the first questions you ask your future case management system provider. When you’re using your system to record personally identifying information or other confidential details, you’ll want to be sure that your files are safe by choosing a system that offers world-class security standards.
Learn more about i-Sight’s security and privacy standards here.
Choose a system provider that hosts your files on their secure servers where they’re protected from unauthorized deletion, copying, alteration, theft, corruption and curious colleagues. Make sure the provider stores data in multiple locations and performs regular backups.
Why Does My System Need Stringent Security Standards?
Case management systems contain a great deal of private and confidential information. For this reason, it’s vital that the system’s provider has stringent data security standards and can be configured to match your country’s privacy regulations.
Turning Point Brands considers secure backup and offsite storage to be a significant selling point. After adding the complaint hotline number to their packaging, “we collected a lot more customer information and needed to make sure we were protecting it,” says Vicki Kamerer, Manager of Corporate Consumer Affairs at Turning Point Brands.
Advanced case management systems provide an artificial intelligence case-linking feature. The tool works by automatically flagging links between cases based on preset criteria.
Some systems let you link cases manually too, by doing a search with keywords such as a person’s name, an incident category or a particular location. An intuitive case-linking tool supports both of these options and even lets the user filter further through similar cases.
What are the Benefits of a Case-Linking Tool?
Automatic and manual case-linking is a game-changer. Case-linking shines a light on trends such as repeat complaints, incidents and hazards, which in turn leads to greater risk management.
Employers can use the tool to easily identify and address areas of risk. Depending on the user’s industry, better risk management can lead to improved business operations, greater employee safety and/or enhanced customer experience.
Any worthwhile case management system will offer role-based access capabilities. Essentially, the platform can have built-in rules for each role (administrator, junior analyst, senior analyst) that dictates what the person can see.
For example, the “junior analyst role” would likely receive a very limited view of the platform. This person would probably have access to unidentifiable metric data but not to view, edit and delete information.
Joe Gerard, i-Sight’s CEO, says role-based access to information is a big piece of case management systems. The information involved in an investigation is super sensitive and so i-Sight has “very robust access controls that try to make sure clients can go and give the right people access at the right time to the right pieces of information”.
Why is Role-Based Access Important?
This feature is important because many organizations operate across multiple jurisdictions and in complex industries.
Depending on the data you collect, you may be governed by the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act, The Healthcare Insurance Portability and Accountability Act or the Financial Modernization Act of 1999.
A case management system with defined access roles helps ensure that these organizations can manage their compliance with little effort.