As companies grow, their needs change and case management software may become the most viable solution. Paper-based tracking systems, spreadsheets and text documents may no longer be adequate for documenting and investigating incidents and issues. For many companies, a case management system is the best option.
What is Case Management Software?
Case management software is a digital system that enables companies to track and store information in a centralized location and report on their data. Case information is accessible to a variety of users so that stakeholders can collaborate on cases and share information in a secure environment.
A case management system can be installed on a local network or it can be web based. Web-based case management software is the most popular type, because it is available 24/7 and accessible from anywhere with an internet connection.
Many companies purchase case management software to replace spreadsheet-based case incident and issue tracking systems that have limited features, inadequate security and no workflow support.
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What Does it Do?
A case management software system streamlines intake, case tracking and reporting. It consolidates all case information into a central repository to provide a single source of up-to-date information on ongoing cases. The most sophisticated case management software also provides a tool for reporting on all the accumulated data for risk management and prevention.
5 Elements of a Case Management Software Platform
There are five elements in a case management software system.
- Case intake
- Case management
- Access and controls
A good case management system uses a variety of intake mechanisms for complaints or reports. The most basic of these intake mechanisms is an internal online form that presents users with the fields that need to be filled in. Other intake methods include a public-facing web form, telephone hotline, email inbox, SMS inbox, chat bot, suggestion/complaints drop box or even a designated person or office (such as an ombudsman) to receive information.
Case management software intake includes:
- Recording new cases using an intake form
- Automatic (or manual) creation of a new case file to store all documentation
- Integration with other systems to create cases and pull information into the case file
- Notifications that parties may be involved in other cases
- Assignment of cases to the responsible person
Case management activities make up the bulk of the work done in a case management system. This part of the software provides case managers with the tools they need to:
- Record notes
- Set reminders and alerts
- Assign tasks
- Track deadlines
- Set appointments
- Send and receive email
- Attach files
- Request approvals
- Link cases that have common parties or issues
- Follow investigative best practices through a rules-based workflow
A great case management system has a strong reporting mechanism for making sense of all the data collected during the case management phase of an investigation. Reporting is critical for visualizing trends, detecting hot spots and conducting risk management and prevention.
A great reporting tool will allow users to:
- Create new reports quickly and easily
- Create drill-down reports to see deeper into the data
- Choose from a variety of different types of charts and graphs to suit what’s being visualized
- Build personalized dashboards
- Export reports to PDF, Excel, txt, csv and MS Word
- Distribute reports automatically or on an ad-hoc basis via email
A good case management system has workflow rules and alerts to ensure that due dates are met and to make it easy for investigators, managers and executives to quickly understand the status of cases. Alerts can be set to advise users of:
- New cases created
- Case assignment
- Upcoming due dates
- Overdue escalation notices
- Case inactivity
- Requests to review cases or steps in a case
Access and Controls
All good case management software systems incorporate access controls to ensure the security and confidentiality of case files. Access to case information can be restricted based on a variety of criteria:
- Role – investigator, manager, executive
- Department – HR, legal, corporate security, compliance, health and safety
- Geography – country, state, region
- Individual – information can be blocked from someone who is related to a case or with a conflict of interest
Case management software is a powerful tool for investigators and anyone else who manages cases in a team environment. Replacing a spreadsheet-based system with a case management tool provides the secure access, collaboration, reporting and risk management necessary to resolve cases faster and boost prevention.