1. Powell, Suzanne K. MBA, RN, CCM, CPHQ

Article Content

Each year, the September/October issue of PCM Journal is a special one in which we honor all case managers with National Case Management Week. Many of our readers have been a grand part of the case management evolution. We have advocated for patients/clients, been the recipient of gratefulness, made mistakes and lost sleep, attempted new and better ways, ... but never stopped striving to improve our craft.


This PCM Journal issue adds a new dimension-that of international case management. It is not an entirely new concept to the journal. We have highlighted several articles on case management in other countries such as Italy, Japan, Korea, Scotland, and England-to name a few. And many of our colleagues are helping other countries set up systems abroad and are sharing case management methods, models, and best practices. I say "sharing" because various countries, through their own grassroots efforts, have evolved the concept of managing patient care in successful ways that align with their own cultures and methods of healthcare reimbursement.


We know that more case managers in all healthcare settings are being charged with coordination of patient care, either from other countries, or going to or from this country. The reasons for this are varied, and the travel will likely become more common in the future. In addition, medical tourism is growing and will impact most of us. This is because medical tourism is becoming a method to control healthcare costs. However, there are issues we must be aware of so we can navigate the new territory successfully-thus, the importance of sharing these articles.


In case management, asking questions is important, but formulating the right question is imperative. We have often encountered patients with considerable personal health changes and significant confusion in their eyes; yet, they lack the knowledge of fundamentals and have no clue of which questions to ask. Here, we help our patients to frame their questions for their family or the physician or therapist. Case management on an international scale demands questions as well. Some of these questions remain the same as we currently ask. Other questions are new to case management and the answers are not yet clearly defined. The authors in this issue help us to frame important questions that must be answered when managing patients across the world.

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There appears to be two types of questions the authors in this journal bring up about the vast theme of international case management. One set relates to the practical questions one should ask if they are transferring patients from U.S. shores back to the patients' home country or vice versa. In "The HeartBeat of Case Management" (p. XXX), many questions are posed, because asking the right questions is key to a successful case management outcome.


Another classification of questions is more philosophical in nature. In the article "Globalization of Healthcare" (p. XXX), the authors ask many questions, some related to cost-savings or the important issue of healthcare quality. Many of the more existential questions mirror questions being asked (and not readily answered) during the current U.S. healthcare debate. They are good questions, and we must continuously ask-and answer-them.


Always, there are case management themes that remain constant no matter where the patient lays his or her head: patient advocacy, patient safety, thoroughness and accuracy, cultural sensitivity, and patient self-determination. These are but a few of the tenets of case management that should flow in the blood of every case manager. This is our foundation, and we have built it on strong soil. This year's National Case Management Week slogan answers the question: How important is case management? Case management is the essential link in quality healthcare. You do make a difference.


Section Description

Mission Statement:Professional Case Management is a peer-reviewed, progressive journal that crosses all case management settings. PCM uses evidenced-based articles to foster the exchange of ideas, elevate the standard of practice, and improve the quality of patient care.