The New Knowledge Worker

by Stefani Daniels, RN, MSNA, CMAC, ACM
Published on Jun 01, 2015

Every once in a while we receive an email asking why we publish information peripheral to specific case management activities.

The New Knowledge Worker article imageOne subscriber wrote to tell us that ".....It's a waste of my time to read a newsletter that has nothing to do with my job. Unsubscribe me from your mailing list." We're sorry to lose this reader but don't want this opportunity to pass by without comment to the rest of our audience.

Contemporary hospital case management is made up of 'knowledge workers.' Back in 1966, in his book The Effective Executive, management guru Peter Drucker said that the workforce of the future will be comprised of people who by virtue of their position or knowledge, will be responsible for a contribution that materially affects the capacity of the organization to perform and to obtain results. That description perfectly fits the important role the hospital case manager plays in today's high pressure hospital environment that is evolving from volume to value and undergoing startling periods of dramatic upheaval.

Today's hospital case managers need more than just clinical knowledge to rise to new expectations. The defining characteristic of contemporary hospital case managers is their ability to influence others on behalf of their several stakeholders to promote safe, efficient progression of care. To do that, they need a new skill set including business proficiency, an understanding of financial principles, knowledge of regulatory or contractual requirements and the ability to give case management a voice at the leadership table. They need excellent communication skills, negotiation skills, a basic understanding of the psychology of human behavior, agile and creative thinking skills to handle intricate patient and physician interactions, and knowledge of hospital operations to help the patient navigate through the system and beyond.

We constantly refer to the definitions of professional case management as promulgated by CMSA and management is a collaborative practice - well, in our view, collaborative practice demands knowledge far beyond utilization review and discharge requires knowledge workers.