Last week, I was fortunate to spend a few days in Seattle at the 26th Annual American Case Management Association (ACMA) Annual Conference. I’ve been to this show – and many others – before, and while overall most conferences tend to be educational, great for networking and completely exhausting, when it comes to the sense of camaraderie of its attendees, there’s something very special about the ACMA National Conference.
From the buzz of energy at the impromptu lunch meetings to the post-show parties and, of course, to the palpable tension in the room as the Win-the-Wheels raffle winner is announced, the conference offers multiple snapshots of how much ACMA members look forward to this conference. And perhaps it’s because they just enjoy working together, supporting one another and celebrating the work they do.
It makes sense. After all, case management is all about connecting disparate groups across multiple layers. Whether it’s working with patients and families or collaborating with clinicians across organizations, case managers are often the bridge between a hospital and other levels of care. Over time, as the role of case manager and the demands on the job have changed, the discussion at this conference has shifted from traditional case management functions and offerings to much more complex problems and sophisticated solutions.
Two examples coming out of last week’s show are predictive analytics and social determinants of health (SDOH). I heard and saw discussion about both topics at the conference. Both are emerging in case management and are complicated to tackle, but both have the potential to give case managers better insight into their patient populations and to improve patient outcomes. The question becomes: How do you weave new emerging tools and processes into existing workflows so that there is less burden (not more) on the case manager who manages dozens of patients every day? How can we connect systems and information in the same way that case managers connect patients and providers?
As the case management industry continues to find more technological solutions, working together is critical, and if three days in Seattle are any indication, there’s no stopping this group from working together well into the future.
Did you miss us at ACMA? We’ll be at the CMSA National Conference in Las Vegas June 10-14. Come see us there!