Professionals can share information
Occupational health case managers in search of new sources of information on best practices or referral resources need look no further than their e-mail mailbox, if they are members of CM Onelist. This listserv for case managers, provided at no cost, is run by Michael J. Demoratz, PhD, LCSW, CCM, president of CareMedical Systems Inc, in Mission Viejo, CA.
"This is a resource of information for case managers," he explains. "For example, you may be looking for a physician who provides quality pain management services. The way it was done 20 years ago, a social worker would call a hospital to get resources. Today, with voice mail, you can’t get anyone; you’re not a priority unless they know who you are."
Demoratz got the idea for the service four years ago, when he was serving as treasurer of the Case Management Society of America, Southern California chapter. "I wanted a way to communicate with our membership in a manner that was both more efficient and cost-effective," he recalls. "We set it up as a listserv that people could sign on to and get an e-mail response."
Since then, the applications of the service have expanded. "For example, your readers would probably use it to put out new educational materials," Demoratz offers. "Say there’s some new procedure, or information about a new product they liked. They could post that information on-line so that it was available to everybody else." It also can be used to post local chapter meetings, or industrywide meetings of interest, if a member is looking to boost attendance, he suggests. "Right now, there are probably half a dozen meetings coming up," he notes. "Members can attach registration forms that can be printed out and faxed or e-mailed back."
One of the most significant features of the service, says Demoratz, is that it helps keep health care professionals connected. "If you feel isolated, as the only occupational health nurse in a shop, the only other way you could communicate would be to go to meetings or talk on the telephone," he notes. Case managers use the list he has put together to keep connected to the masses of professionals in case management, he notes. "People share whatever they feel comfortable in sharing," he explains. "I have no problem with most of the postings."
He notes, however, that since CM Onelist uses a secure server, and members have to log in, people are less inclined to post something inflammatory. "They can market their services, talk about who they are and what they do," Demoratz notes. "As long as they put educational material out there, nobody cares." He makes it easier for members to navigate the service by providing a digest version daily, with major topics listed separately.
Demoratz says the listserv provides a real service to the case management community in terms of offering advice. "Somebody might say, I have a patient who’s had a number of back surgeries, and I’m thinking of pushing for a procedure that may be considered experimental — what do you think of it?’ That’s pretty typical," Demoratz says. Sometimes, the advice can concern what not to do. "About 18 months ago, we had a women post something about a doctor everybody was recommending; she said he was killing patients," she recalls. "I told her I not to post that. There’s tremendous potential liability; if something’s put on the Internet, it is there forever."
Demoratz believes the service has done a lot of good. "For example, people who just don’t have the time to get to meetings can do it on-line," he notes. "If you’re looking for a specific person, other professionals can help you find them. It helps you stay connected to people with whom you might otherwise lose touch."
In addition, he notes, his listserv offers access to resources not normally found in more traditional services, such as the brain trust on his list. "People from all over the world are monitoring the list," he says. "There are a number of physicians who are willing to give feedback when they receive requests for information about specific procedures, and so on."
To join CM Onelist, go to www.caremedsys.com and click the CM Onelist button.
[For additional information, contact: Michael J. Demoratz, PhD, LCSW, CCM, CareMedical Systems Inc., P.O. Box 194, Orange, CA 92856. Telephone: (714) 743-0577. Fax: (714) 532-0933. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.]