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The Center for Patient Partnerships (http://www.patientpartnerships.org/) is an interdisciplinary educational center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison that provides free advocacy services for clients with serious chronic and life-threatening illnesses. The Center also serves caregivers, friends or others close to people living with serious illness. There is a need to track outcomes, the work done for clients, the work that students do and in doing so map the relationships between the above-mentioned people. Also, between semesters the ongoing work should not fall through the cracks as cases are re-assigned. In looking to upgrade the current system, CiviCRM / CiviCase was selected.

The need for case management is important for the Center at two levels: To ensure that clients are receiving the services they need, and to ensure the education of the students with whom they are working. It allows supervisors to get a clear picture of their students' work and monitor the progress of cases.

Existing features used include relationships, custom fields, and activity types. Customizations contributed back to the community include making the post-help text for custom fields into a popup, making the Home menu link configurable, standardized subject lines for change case type/status, and miscellaneous bugfixes and visual improvements.

A common workflow is for there to be a certain amount of back and forth correspondence before the case type is determined (i.e. which type of service should be offered). A placeholder case type was chosen as the default, and except for cases where client contact is unable to be re-established, cases are transitioned out of this case type into one of the actual services offered.

Student course assignments relating to individual cases, such as biweekly case-updates and case summary memos, have been integrated into CiviCase as case activities. Making these assignments part of CiviCase allows them to not only fulfill their educational purpose, but also serve as milestone activities within cases that provide a summary for others involved in the case. This also streamlined the process for both students and staff for handing in and reading these assignments – our prior system required students to save and turn in assignments in multiple places, and now students only need to enter their assignment into CiviCase once and "turn in" the assignment by simply checking the box to send a copy via email to their supervisor. Receiving a copy of assignments via email has also made each supervisor's job easier since they don’t have to log into a separate course website to download the assignments as Microsoft Word documents as they did in the past.

Existing reports used include the Case Summary, Case Staleness, Demographics, and the Activity Report (with custom fields). To accommodate different mailing requirements, a custom search to separate former clients (those with no currently open cases) from current clients was created and then used to create smart groups (additionally it excludes the placeholder case type, to avoid sending unwanted mailings).

Some other customizations include using hook_civicrm_caseSummary to add to the manage case screen. Specifically, the advocate's/student's supervisor and a custom field from an activity were added to the summary section at the top, and an additional info column was added to the Other Relationships table (e.g. for a physician's specialty). In addition to a close case summary activity which was configured with existing features, some customization was done to prevent confusion with the existing close case mechanism (i.e. change case status).

Some future enhancements that might be up for discussion with others who are interested (possibly as make-it-happen subprojects?) include phone number format standardization, creating new contacts on the fly when adding a relationship, subgrouping of custom fields (e.g. a heading for the subgroup without having to enter fancy html into the pre-help field), and separating the ability to edit group/tag membership from the "edit all contacts" permission.

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