Guide to case management part 1: Introduction

This article is part 1 of our series on case management. See the bottom of this article for the other parts in this series. You can also check out our webinar on case management; skip to 3:06 for a general overview of what case management is, and how it can be used.

In this article, we discuss when it is a good idea to use case management, and some examples of situations where case management can be used.

If you already know that you want to use case management, click here to skip ahead to part 2 to learn how it works.

Why should I use case management?

Case management is useful in many scenarios and has several advantages. You might find that case management is an improvement on the standard data collection workflow scenarios like these:

  • When you have a list of cases in advance of data collection (you don't need to discover cases during data collection).
  • If you're looking to make the entry of study IDs less error prone (selecting a case can substitute for manual entry of study IDs into a form). 
  • When forms need to be filled out several times for the same cases.
  • When data collection can be made simpler by breaking up one large form design into several smaller forms, associating the list of forms with each case. 
  • When you have a list of forms that need to be completed for each case in a particular order.
  • When you wish to assign certain cases to particular team members.
  • When certain forms should be filled out for particular cases and not others.
  • When your workflow involves passing a case between different team members who will complete different forms in a sequence.
It is also worth noting that you do not necessarily have to use case management to get all of its benefits. The table-list field plug-in provides a searchable table view for a choice list that mirrors the case list's functionality when data collection involves a single form. So in some scenarios, you can have the best of both worlds - see this discussion of computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI) workflow choices.

Examples of case management

Here are some case management examples that you can deploy and test right now. For help deploying the parts of an example case management system, see this article.

  • In this blog post you'll learn from an example where each case is a specific town (or city), and case forms are used to record information about essential infrastructure (schools, water, and transport). Cases are not pre-existing in this scenario, and are generated through form submissions. Similarly, cases are assigned to data collectors.
  • Our recommended approach to computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI) on the SurveyCTO platform involves the use of case management. To help generate records of phone call attempts, the same form is filled out repeatedly, and the form records failed contact attempts if the respondent is not available. 

Case management can be used for many other purposes too.

More on case management

Be sure to check out the other articles in this series on case management.

Don't feel as if you have to know everything about case management before you start using it. Feel free to just check out the topics most relevant to you, and try them out. If you are brand new to case management, start with sections 1, 2, and 3, and then as you get more comfortable, you can start learning more advanced techniques.
  1. Introduction (this article): Why it is a good idea to use case management, and examples of where it can be used.
  2. Creating and managing cases: How to create a server dataset that can be used for cases, and how to add and edit your cases.
  3. Collecting data using case management: How to fill out cases forms on both a mobile device and in web forms, and creating automated workflows with case management
  4. Case management workflows: How to identify form instances as being part of a case, and how to publish to and pull data from the cases server dataset.
  5. Multiple cases datasets: How to assign different server datasets to different user roles for case management.
  6. Tips, tricks, and troubleshooting: Additional tips about what can be done with case management, as well as how to troubleshoot when something is not working.
  7. Example - Publishing to a case, and retrieving from that case: Walking you through a case management example, including pulling from and publishing to a cases server dataset.

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