A series of articles emphasizing practical
knowledge you can't find in practice guides
and interviews with experts who share
their techniques for effective and efficient
case management

 

How To Do It: Articles, Interviews &
Practice Tips

Articles emphasizing practical knowledge you can't find in practice guides

People Who Made A Difference
Profiles of people who changed workers’ compensation law.

White Papers

Letters to the Editors

Meet the Editors
• Warren Schneider
• Marjory Harris


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If you missed the first article, "How to Store It, How to Find It
With downloadable folder tree and icon" click here.


For the second article, “How to Work Faster, More Efficiently, and with
Lower Overhead” click here.


> Send in your tips for office organization or requests for solutions
to office problems.





Does Your Case Management Program Do It All?


In my experience with various programs, starting when the PC first became
available, no database, no matter how much I customized it, did everything I wanted
or needed to handle all my cases. As I added more and more fields and
forms/records to display the information, the database became unwieldy. And,
after all that work on complex cases, the database stored the results in a particular
client’s record, so making parts of the information available for other similar cases required tedious, time consuming cutting and pasting.

I found that keeping a summary in Word or WordPerfect for more complex cases
had drawbacks, in that one could not search readily across many such summaries,
or easily manipulate the data.

After years of searching for a database equivalent of a theory of everything (TOE),
I came to the realization that just as in physics, there was none that stood the test
of time. I then focused on adjunct programs that worked to expand my case
management database, rather than to endlessly redesign my case management
program in attempts to include everything.

My new approaches allow me to save data to the client’s record and also to other
clients’ records or to my general storage and retrieval system that I described in the
first article of the series. It also gives me the flexibility to use different programs for
different needs, depending on the complexity of the issues and evidence. For some
cases the case management database alone works just fine.

In this article I describe a handy, inexpensive, easy to use database program that
bridges the gap between outliners and relational databases.

myBase Desktop Edition

MyBase is an inexpensive free-form database available from Wjjsoft:
http://www.wjjsoft.com/nyf_desktop.html. It “creates full-text searchable databases
and organizes information in the tree-structured outline form, along with capabilities
of capturing information from a variety of data sources such as texts, webpages,
images, documents, spreadsheets, emails,” etc. It is so easy to use, you can get
right down to it after downloading the program.

I use it for many different purposes, including a complex remodeling project where I
want to store the architect’s designs, bills, webpages from my research into fixtures,
etc. I use it to store the ideas, contacts, files, and text that go into issues for
getMedLegal Magazine. For my law practice, I use it to store outlines for various
kinds of cases (e.g., workers’ compensation, Social Security) and case notes for
clients. I also use it to store procedures and forms for the QME process, for
depositions and letters addressing apportionment, for data on the AMA Guides,
medical information, checklists for settlement, and the like. I keep a button on my
launch bar that has a menu of the various myBase databases. I keep all myBase
databases in the same directory tree, for ease of backup to a remote online
database, with links in clients’ and other directories so I can open a database in
a click or two.

Unlike most outlining programs, myBase lets you use several windows, with the outline on the left and the text or webpage windows on the right, and another window to view attachments and links. The user manual is in the form of a database, and a handy sample database reveals the many possibilities, including web capturing, inserting an Excel spreadsheet, and rich text editor which accepts images:

(Click image to enlarge)




Suggested Uses for Case Management


I prepared a WC Case Analyzer using resources from getMedLegal.com such as
the forms page (http://www.getmedlegal.com/Forms.asp) and Quick Reference
(http://www.getmedlegal.com/QuickLook/Quick.asp) as well as issues lists I had
collected over the years. I saved this in a folder labeled “WC Outlines,” and when I
open a new case, I use the “save a copy” command and save it with the client’s name in a folder labeled “WC Clients.”


(Click image to enlarge)



I put a link to this file in the client’s database record so I can open it with one click
and add notes or other items. Because you can copy and paste the outline items,
any important research or other data can be moved easily to another myBase
database. Conversely, data can be moved from a general outline to the specific
client database.

I also keep outlines of medical and AMA Guides tidbits from our legal forum,
research, reports I receive, etc., and procedures to quickly check UR compliance,
or go through the new and complicated panel QME process. I add sample letters,
forms, addresses, whatever is needed to get the project done quickly without having
to look in many different places for what I need. My apportionment database helps
me save time crafting letters or deposition questionnaires. I keep links to decisions
as they come down on the various issues.

The bottom line is that uses for myBase are limited only by your imagination. If you
decide to try it for free, I suggest you use the sample database to explore the many
ways you can use the program and the various kinds of data you can store in
myBase. In this final screenshot, you will see how I pasted in a rating from
getMedLegal.com and a bunch of spreadsheet cells showing how much TD was
owed, in the settlement section of my case analyzer:

(Click to enlarge)




Coming In the next issue: More Software for Office Productivity.

Computer Corner:
A Case Management Adjunct

By Marjory Harris


In this series, we explore organizational
techniques, software and hardware that will
help you clear the mess from your desk, be
more productive, and cut office overhead.
In this article we explore a program to augment your case management software.

> Computer Corner
> The Doctor's Office
> How to Use Declarations
> MSC Mess
> Medical Provider Networks