Virtual workplaces decrease case management relational skills
Case managers are thought of as effective communicators, often serving as the liaison between patients, families, payers, and hospital staff. But as case management departments rely more heavily on virtual tools in the workplace, case managers’ relational skills (e.g., patience, reliability, empathy, trust, influence) are compromised, according to CMSA Today.
A group of 10 health insurance case managers who work in virtual settings participated in a study whereby they completed team exercises designed to decrease isolation and increase morale. In the jobs, the case managers frequently interacted face-to-face with health plan members, but communicated with coworkers via email, instant messenger, and teleconference, according to CMSA Today.
The team exercise required the participants to individually work on PowerPoint presentations on the development of a virtual name tag and then randomly pair up to present one another’s PowerPoints. The exercise required team members to interact with each other to prepare to present the other’s material during a weekly telephonic department meeting.
Following the exercise, the case managers completed a survey that asked questions about their virtual workplace. All participants who completed the survey found that team relations are very important (60%) or important (40%) to patient outcomes. Just 20% of survey respondents stated they were satisfied with their team relationships prior to the exercises. More than half (60%) revealed the team-building exercise improved the virtual team relations. Just 20% stated they were not likely to use team exercises in the future, according to the CMSA Today analysis.