By Dr. Colleen Morley, DNP, RN, CCM, CMAC, CMCN, ACM-RN, FCM

Disruptive Innovation: A Challenge to Case Managers

Still riding the wave of excitement and regeneration from our first in-person CMSA Annual Conference in three years, I am excited to take the reins as President of this incredible organization. The vibe was incredible. The networking was all the more precious from not having been able to gather for so long and it really drove home the value of the in-person experience of our conference. Feedback from attendees was incredibly positive; everyone was thrilled to be back together and the buzz continues even now, weeks after on the Facebook groups, LinkedIn pages and notes I receive from attendees and exhibitors alike.

As I mentioned in my remarks after the gavel exchange, the theme for my presidency is ‘disruptive innovation.’ This term is usually defined in the use of technology that “creates a new market by applying a different set of values which ultimately and unexpectedly overtakes an existing market” (Sensemeir, 2012, p. 13).

I will presume to extend the premise of ‘disruptive innovation’ beyond technology, but rather looking at issues with an eye to creating simpler, perhaps more radical ways to use existing resources or developing new resources in response to the new perspective on the issue.

Simply put, I believe and advocate that it is our right and responsibility to disrupt processes when they are not working and propose new and innovative solutions to the issues we identify. Change is not comfortable. It makes us stretch, it challenges us and makes demands. We seek comfort in the “ways things have always been,” but how is anything, especially healthcare, supposed to grow if we stay in what is comfortable?

Case managers, regardless of discipline, have been the experts in patient-centered care and the social determinants of health long before they became fashionable buzzwords. As the experts, it is our responsibility to provide the disruption and process in the development of the innovations.

Examples of this “disruptive innovation” are demonstrated in the CMSA Standards of Practice and publications of Case Management Adherence Guidelines (CMAG).  Did you know that CMSA was the first professional case management organization to publish Standards of Practice, the very backbone of our profession? The 2022 updates were unveiled at the CMSA National Conference. (Download your copy here: The CMAG for C.Diff with CMSA partner, Ferring Pharmaceuticals, also premiered at the Conference. The presentation gave me new insight into new ways of thinking about the role of case management with this patient population.

The announcement of our location for the 2023 CMSA National Conference will be coming out soon.  Get ready to mark your calendars, put in your PTO requests and make your travel arrangements.  We are truly stronger together!

References: Sensmeier, J. E. (2012). Disruptive innovation and the changing face of healthcare. Nursing Management (Springhouse)43(11), 13–14.

Bio: Dr. Colleen Morley DNP RN CCM CMAC CMCN ACM-RN FCM is current President of the Case Management Society of America National Board of Directors and Principal of Altra Healthcare Consulting in Chicago, IL.  She has held positions in acute care as Director of Case Management at several acute care facilities and managed care entities in Illinois for over 14 years; piloting quality improvement initiatives focused on readmission reduction, care coordination through better communication and population health management.

Her current passion is in the area of improving health literacy. She is the recipient of the CMSA Foundation Practice Improvement Award (2020) and ANA Illinois Practice Improvement Award (2020) for her work in this area. Dr. Morley also received the AAMCN Managed Care Nurse Leader of the Year in 2010 and the CMSA Fellow of Case Management designation in 2022. She has recently authored her 1st book, “A Practical Guide to Acute Care Case Management”, published by Blue Bayou Press.

Dr. Morley has over 20 years of nursing experience. Her clinical specialties include Med/Surg, Oncology and Pediatric Nursing.  She received her ADN at South Suburban College in South Holland, IL; BSN at Jacksonville University in Jacksonville, FL, MSN from Norwich University in Northfield, VT and her DNP at Chamberlain College of Nursing.