Not many services get as personal as health care. The journey along a treatment path can be painful for a wide variety of reasons, and having recently undergone an ablation procedure to treat some AFib it got me thinking about the USM method, case management and the customer experience.

There are few customer journeys that compare with a road to recovery. But everyone’s personal journey contributes to the wicked nature of improving service management— as well as a customer’s experience as a result of service delivery.

Health care services in particular are complex service ecosystems, and the customer journey can be a confusing (and scary) trip. Sometimes the road is clear and straight, and other times it seems you’re going in circles.

And that’s because you are! While many parts of a health care journey are prescriptive, the nature of case management is iterative and cyclical. You find out as you move down the road. As I lay in my hospital bed my mind wandered in all different directions, business and personal.

So, as I post this morning, I’ll try to keep the post strictly business as best I can, but make no promises… I’m still in recovery. 😉

USM, Case Management and the Customer Experience

What USM does…

The Unified Service Management (USM) method specifies an enterprise service management architecture that promotes standardization and interoperability between service domains. It is often misunderstood as ‘yet another framework’ by people who’ve not taken the time to really understand it, which is why I offer FREE USM Workshops.

Few things are as variable as delivering services. However, managing service delivery is universal: whether you manage a facility task domain such as IT, Building Management, Human Resources, or Security, or a primary task domain such as a municipality or a healthcare institution, it is and remains service delivery. And that requires cooperation between parties and some degree of standardization, so they can act as links in supply chains and networks – solving the complexity and interoperability challenges with an Enterprise Service Management strategy

USM supports an integral and integrated management approach which restores and optimizes the control over each service team’s contribution to the whole system. An integrated, non-redundant process model with 5 processes and a simple set of 8 workflows serve as templates for all daily routines in any service providers’ practice. The management of these routines can be considered the core of the USM method.

Because USM is a method it is complimentary to practice-based frameworks (i.e., ITIL), standards (i.e., ISO 27001), and operating models (i.e., IT4IT).

What Case Management does…

Case Management is used heavily in social work, law, policing, and health care. Case management is designed to enable knowledge workers to dynamically manage cases as they unfold. Case Management is iterative, nonlinear, and cyclical, and revisits each phase as necessary until the desired outcome is achieved.

Iterative Case Management

Case Management is iterative, non-linear, and cyclical, as its phases are revisited as necessary until the desired outcome is achieved.

The nature of case management involves cross-disciplinary and interdependent specialty practices. Case Management is practice-based; it includes people, process, tools, policy and the practice (i.e., healthcare) setting.

Case Management is practice-based; it includes people, process, tools, policy and the practice (i.e., healthcare) setting.

Case Management is “Adaptive” when the case management system changes in response to the external environment to make case management more successful, learning from past cases to improve stored knowledge, templates, checklists, or procedures.

If case workers are fixing, changing or replacing those components of the organisation (people, practices, processes, software, infrastructure, plant, facilities, tools, data, suppliers …) then the architectural standards and templates are obviously an essential resource to understand how things are supposed to work and why.

England, Rob. Plus! The Standard+Case Approach (p. 11, p. 68). Two Hills Ltd. Kindle Edition.

USM, Case Management and the Customer Experience

While the procedures for filling out a prescription are highly standardized and repeatable, knowing which combination of drugs to take (and who can prescribe them) may involve many different experts. The specific work instructions for each drug are based on the expertise of these knowledge workers and might include the use of ‘job aids and tools’ (i.e., take with or without food, use a device, etc.).

These services directly touch the patient and could be viewed as ‘core’ or customer-facing services. They will differ based on an increasingly dizzying array of healthcare settings (i.e., clinical, outpatient, inpatient, insurance programs, medical group practices, etc.).

In fact, these health care settings can change during the course of treatment (i.e., pre-acute, acute, post-acute).

The overall customer experience, when viewed from the eyes of the customer (in this case a patient!) are very much dependent on a huge number of interactions across an extremely complex service supply chain. There will be specialized practices for each of these different service domains.

If any industry segment screams for a unified approach to managing these interdependent services, it is the health care industry.

Lying in the recovery room I pulled my feet from under the blankets, and that’s when a memory came flooding back. He was at the end of his battle with leukemia, and his feet were swollen under those socks. His inability to pee had him on dialysis, and his prognosis wasn’t good.

So, memories of brother Jimmy were now front and center, and eventually shifted to the good times.

But I was keenly aware that I hadn’t peed yet.

By creating a standard service management system that each service domain can apply — regardless of the types of services offered, organizational structures in place, standards and practices in use, or technologies and tools desired — the unified service management method is ideal for today’s complex health care services.

Warning: Since USM involves thinking differently about service management, you will not be able to fully understand USM by reading blog posts. Best bet is to read the book, schedule a consultation, and/or join an open workshop.

Published by myservicemonitor

I am an independent service management consultant with two decades of experience helping customers.

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