eCases II is about decision-making in respect of interventions at eCases.
eCases serve three functions:
1) a repository function (i.e. the focus of this article),
2) an ongoing eCase management function (i.e. assessing progress toward meeting Case objectives),
3) an interoperability function (i.e. making eCase data available to local and remote 3rd party stakeholders, systems and applications).
When you consolidate data relating to interventions at an eCase, you build up a reverse chronological history at the eCase that can be used to provide decision support to Case managers/workers. Each eCase History (eHx) entry has a “user” signature plus a system-imposed date\timestamp.
Note the quotes – many of the entries you are likely to find at an eCase eHx are not the direct result of human action. They may be the result of actions taken by a local or remote systems and applications. No surprise, then, if you see “System” as the performing resource for an intervention.
The term “History” needs to be explained as well – eCase eHx recordings are quite different from transaction “logs”. eCase eHx recordings are hyperlinks to data recorded at eCase Forms. Clicking on a hyperlink calls the Form version that was in service at the time of the recording, with the data, as it was, at that time. In respect of attached documents, eCase eHx recordings are hyperlinks to versioned MS Word, spreadsheet etc objects. Clicking causes the object to display in it’s native environment.
Since data at any Form is a consolidation of data that recorded at the time of the intervention plus data recorded days, weeks, months earlier, it is a good practice in eCase software suites to highlight the most recent data recorded (i.e. using a distinctive color).
Other best practices include never overwriting any data but allowing after-the-fact addition of “sticky notes” and strikethroughs at data.
eCases, of course, need to accommodate all manner of objects, above and beyond Form data. The range of objects extends to text files, PDFs, doc, spreadsheet files, images, even video/audio recordings.
Good practice regarding continuity and integrity at eCases requires formal protocols for the versioning of objects (i.e. objects that serve as frameworks for data and data itself).
When a Form requires changes, copy the Form, edit the Form, then hide the old copy to prevent users from referencing the old version of the Form at interventions. Do not change or delete the old version in any way (e.g. if you delete a field on a Form, chances are you’ll create “orphan” data; if you add a field to a Form, this will give the impression to users browsing the eCase eHx that possibly important data was not collected at the Form up to the time the field was added).
When a document requires edits/enhancements, the environment will extract a copy, allow edits and then save the copy to a new “version”. The original remains as is, at the time it was appended to the eCase. No copies of the document are saved in Windows directories. All data is saved in the eCase.
Bottom line, a few simple protocols will increase the likelihood that what you see in an eCase eHx is current data which can be used as a basis for decision-making. In-line rule sets help to improve quality and completeness of the eCase eHx data.
When you are about to perform an intervention at any Case, open and browse the eHx.
Look before you leap!
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eCases IV – Interoperability