Case managers perform essential work that strengthens our communities. As such, they need systems that are secure, auditable and flexible. In a recent GovLoop training, Barbara Morton, the Acting Chief Veterans Experience Officer at the Veterans Affairs Department (VA), and Theresa Ward, a Client Partner at Unqork, explained how to find success with case management modernization through practicing empathy, implementing the right technology and adapting to new developments.
Technology and Timing
“From crisis comes great opportunity,” said Morton.
In the past year, agencies have learned the importance of being agile. Morton explained that years of implementing an agile methodology made the pandemic easier to brace for.
“I think that having the build of these modernization initiatives overtime has set us up with an infrastructure that was primed and ready to be responsive,” she said.
Making modernization achievable
Agencies may want to modernize but believe they don’t have enough employees or money to implement these changes. Ward suggests “embracing the cloud and web-based technology makes a huge difference and something like a no-code platform can really be used to modernize.” Ward explained the beauty of using a no-code platform, as the ability to create complex applications and environments, without the need to write code. That can bring nontraditional tech users into the picture. Through no-code platforms, modernization becomes accessible for all agencies.
Morton noted that while the technological component of modernization is important, empathy and personal connections cannot be neglected. The VA wants its exchanges to be less transactional and more personal and resounding.
“[Veterans] are in need of our support and they wouldn’t reach out to us if they didn’t need that,” said Morton.
Case management means catering to a wide range of people. Morton knows this, as her agency has to appeal to veterans from all generations.
“We don’t provide services to one generation or cohort; we’ve got to meet everyone where they are,” said Morton.
She explained the difficulty with this approach is when different cohorts’ needs vary. While the one-size-fits-all approach can work in certain situations, organizations complete the best work when they take the experiences of a diverse body of clientele into consideration. Morton stressed the importance of human-centered design research when understanding peoples’ needs. Many organizations may brush off human-centered design research as a waste of time, Morton said, but doing the research beforehand saves time by ensuring the efficiency of products and services.
“[Take] the time upfront to speed up on the backend,” said Morton.
Work to take action
Similarly, Ward said practicing adaptability and knowing how to prioritize needs is a critical skill for agencies and employees. For example, agencies need to launch applications that are relevant to policy, which can of course be subject to the whims of legislators.
“We’ve launched an application on rent relief because that was such a large part of the stimulus bill,” said Ward. “We know that these types of changes need to be implemented immediately.”
Overall, both speakers agreed that technology, timing and empathy drive modernization efforts. By understanding the people you serve, using the right technology and adapting to your surroundings, you can modernize to the maximum extent.
This online training was sponsored by: