The CiviCase component provides a high degree of customization to meet the needs of a wide variety of case management settings and workflows. It is important to understand CiviCase's underlying principles and assumptions, as well as the elements which can be customized. Then you can plan and configure the component based on how your organization manages cases.
Case Types, Activity Types and Timelines
The first step in planning your CiviCase configuration is creating a list of the types of cases you handle.
Examples of case types from the Physician Health Program are:
For a community services organization, examples might include:
For each case type, list the types of activities (interactions or other events) you typically record for a case.
Then create a timeline for each case type, listing any of these activities which generally occur in a predictable order and should be accomplished within a certain timeframe (e.g. you might think of this as a case plan). Define the expected number of days between the beginning of the case and each of the subsequent activities in the timeline (reference offset). If needed, you can also define an offset from another activity. EXAMPLE: For a "Referral to Specialist" case, the "facilitate first appointment" activity might be expected to occur within 2 days after the case is opened. "Survey client satisfaction" might be scheduled for 30 days after "facilitate first appointment".
You can also define a set of activities to be included in audit reports that CiviCase can generate. These reports consolidate activity data for the defined activities. EXAMPLE: For a given type of case, what set of activities should be reviewed by a case supervisor periodically? This set could be defined as your "Monthly Review" report.
There is a standard set of data collected whenever a case activity is recorded in CiviCase:
This is sufficient for some types of activities. However it is often useful to collect additional structured data for some types of activities. The "Open Case" (intake) activity is a common example - where you may want to include a set of specific questions about the client and their situation.
Create a list of additional (custom data) requirements for each activity type. The list should include the type of data being recorded (free text, multiple choice, date, etc.).
Case Roles and Relationships
CiviCase provides three mechanisms for relating people to cases and clients:
If no case roles, client relationships, or case resources are defined, then the only person related to the case is the Client.
CiviCRM provides relationship type definitions for most of the standard relationships you might track (e.g. Spouse, Child ...). However you will probably need to define additional relationship types for your case roles. Examples include:
Make a list of the expected case roles for each type of case listed above. Then determine which role is generally considered to be the "case manager" for that case type.
As of CiviCRM 4.5 CiviCase is largely configured via the user interface. Refer to the Case Management section of the User and Administrator Guide for details. There are a couple exceptions to this, notably the setting to control whether a case can have multiple clients, whether case activity emails are redacted, and the sort order for activity types on the Manage Case screen. These options are still controlled via the vestigial xml file that was used for all case configuration prior to v4.5. To edit this file, first copy it to your custom templates directory:
Global Settings file (Settings.xml)