Case Management Systems 101

Case managers usually work with a lot of clients and can collect dozens of data points. Keeping track of issues, interactions and demographics can be difficult without the help of a reliable tool like case management software. A “case” can be one of the many issues an organization regularly handles. It could be intake of regular customers, an investigation of a complaint, a service request that should be fulfilled, or incident management that needs to be resolved.

Seamless team collaboration can be facilitated through a case management system, or CMS. To increase employee productivity and work efficiency, it is important that all members of the team are involved in the resolution of the case and can easily access information and communicate with each other through a single interface. Investment in the best available CMS is well worth it. The steps involved in some resolutions can be non-routine and unpredictable; a CMS allows for collaboration within a solution-oriented team. Once you have streamlined your business processes, your quality of service will improve, customer satisfaction will increase, and successful completion rates will improve.

Case Management System Components

The workflow is a sequence of processes through which a case passes from initiation to completion. In an electronic case management system, the workflow is automated and streamlined to ensure prompt resolution of cases. There are many benefits to an electronic and secure case management system. It allows teams to share sensitive information and documents in a unified way. A CMS allows the organization to maintain a trail of actions taken with each case, and can have built in “stops” to allow supervisory level approval and decision-making.

For case workers with “high touch” cases, it is extremely important to document interactions to keep colleagues and supervisors informed on increments of interaction with the recipient of the services. High touch in social services denotes a client who needs extensive personalized service in navigating the processes of the service being provided. Additionally, a good CMS should have a user version that allows clients and/or customers to stay informed through remote access. It can also allow your organization to store data and use analytics to understand your clients and/or customers.

Human determination sets a CMS apart from a business management system. A case manager is crucial in deciding the best course of action in every step of finding the optimal solution to a service recipient. Business management systems typically concentrate on processes. Ultimately, case management is a process of finding optimal solutions for various complex cases through collaboration using electronic workflow and human determination.

Benefits of Case Management Systems

With a CMS, organizations can expedite the resolution of issues and ensure that optimal solutions are set in place through collaboration of multiple providers of services. This primary advantage of case management brings with it several other benefits, including:

  • Decreased paperwork through digital record-keeping.
  • Centralized data management that allows for remote access on mobile platforms.
  • A robust CMS that provides real-time data and quick access of information.
  • Effective collaboration leading to efficient resolution of cases.
  • A data trail allowing for clear audit trails and increased transparency, which also expedites reporting.
  • Improved client and/or customer care.

Since a CMS can be used in various industries, the features in each system vary depending on its purpose. However, there are standard features that we see in almost all systems. Among them are a centralized / integrated database, case lifecycle management, single view interface, multi-platform adaptive, portals for self-service for customers within a more personalized care system.

Accessing customer profiles should be “immediate,” along with all stored information and past interactions. When organizations have all this information at their fingertips, they can be more responsive and make clients feel valued.

Selecting the “Right” Case Management System

Whether it is a legacy software system, simple Microsoft Excel spreadsheets or paper tracking, the first step is to ask yourself if the current process is meeting your needs. Change is not easy, but it is often worth it, especially if the payoff is a CMS that improves your organization’s productivity and data collection.

When sourcing a CMS, it is very important to understand your needs, wants and what the potential provider is offering.

  • System support — Does the provider offer quality, ongoing support?
  • Data collection — Is it easy to retrieve and report on the data you collect?
  • Integration — Can the system be configured to fit your organization’s needs?
  • Tactical adaptability — Can you make minor system changes without having to go through the provider?
  • Strategic adaptability — Can the software (and the provider) grow and adapt as your organization grows and changes?

It may seem difficult to find a case management software provider that checks all the boxes your organization may have. With tenacity and a clear set of wants vs. needs, there is bound to be a solution that can maximize your customer care.


Organizations equipped with a case management system are afforded the opportunity to receive data to make organizational decisions on where to allocate resources. The implementation of a viable CMS also addresses changing customer demands, increases the efficiency of workers, and ultimately optimizes the organization’s processes which are essential for organizational growth and expandability of programs.

Women in Apprenticeship

By Chip O’Connell

The Biden-Harris Administration recently launched the Apprenticeship Ambassador Initiative, a national network committed to strengthening apprenticeship in the United States, with a focus on increasing access and support for underrepresented populations.  One target population is women, who have traditionally been underrepresented in the world of apprenticeship. The US Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship has taken several steps to increase women’s representation in apprenticeship (see fact sheet here), including starting the Women in Apprenticeship and Nontraditional Occupations program. With that in mind, let’s look at the data regarding women in apprenticeship.

All data for this analysis can be found here.

First, referring to Figure 1 below, we see that women are still underrepresented in apprenticeship, with only 17% of new apprentices in 2021 being female.

Circle Graph showing Gender distribution among new apprentices in 2021. Men are represented in blue with 83% of the circle accounting for 135,455 apprentices. Women are represented in red accounting for 17% of new apprentices or 27,714 apprentices.

However, while women remain underrepresented, their participation in apprenticeship has increased substantially in previous years.  Figure 2 below shows that the number of new female apprentices beginning an apprenticeship each year has more than doubled since 2016, growing from 10,485 new apprentices in 2016 to 27,714 new apprentices in 2021. 

Figure 3 shows the distribution of gender in apprenticeship since 2016.  Women’s participation has more than doubled over this time, growing from 7.9% of new apprentices in 2016 to 17% of new apprentice in 2021.

Female apprentices can be found in every industry, as shown in Figure 4.  The Health Care and Social Assistance industry is the largest industry for women, with 9,289 active female apprentices in this industry. Heath Care and Social Assistance is followed by Construction (with 7,776 active female apprentices) and Educational Services (4,339 active female apprentices). 

Finally, Figure 5 shows median starting wages for new apprentices between 2016 and 2021, broken down by gender.  Figure 5 shows that a gender wage gap exists in apprenticeship, but the gap has shrunk substantially over recent years.  Looking at 2016, new female apprentices started their apprenticeships with a median wage of $12/hour, compared to male apprentices’ $15/hour, or a difference of $3/hour.  Fast forward to 2021, and new female apprentices started at a median wage of $15/hour, compared to men’s $16.61/hour, or a difference of $1.61/hour. The change of a difference of $3/hour to $1.61/hour represents a 46% reduction in the apprentice gender wage gap. 

In conclusion, while women remain underrepresented in apprenticeship, their participation has grown rapidly in recent years.  They are heavily concentrated in the Health Care and Social Services industry, but they are also in every single other industry.  Lastly, there still exists a wage gap in apprenticeship, but that wage gap appears to be shrinking rapidly.