About the The Commission for Case Manager Certification’s Case Management Body of Knowledge® (CMBOK®)

"About the Commission for Case Manager Certification’s CMBOK®” describes how the Case Management Body of Knowledge® (CMBOK®) was developed and provides background information on the knowledge editor, the team that created the CMBOK, and other ongoing advisory panel/board members.

The knowledge, skills, and abilities of case managers are major factors in assuring the provision of safe and superior quality healthcare services to clients and their support systems, including their families, significant others, friends, caregivers and others. The more current case managers are, the more they are able to demonstrate effectiveness in their case management practice and achieve desired outcomes. To realize its mission to advance the practice of case management, the Commission for Case Manager Certification (the Commission) developed a case management knowledge framework for case managers and other healthcare professionals to use in their efforts to realize multiple purposes, including the following:

  • To enhance the structure and outcomes of case management programs in the various practice settings across the health and human services care continuum
  • To guide the professional development and advancement of case managers and other professionals
  • To effectively design roles, responsibilities, and competencies of case managers in various practice settings and with varying professional backgrounds
  • To use credible and widely recognized professional case management standards and practices
  • To demonstrate the value of case management programs, roles, and functions
  • To assist in the ongoing education and training of experienced as well as new case managers
  • To develop academic programs for education of healthcare professionals in the field of case management
  • To use as background information on which credentialing and accreditation activities can be based

This case management knowledge framework is called the CMBOK. Unlike any other resource in the industry, the CMBOK is the only comprehensive body of knowledge available online for case managers and other healthcare professionals.

Definition of Body of Knowledge

Body of knowledge (BOK) is a term used to describe widely recognized information, standards, methods, tools, and practices about a specific field such as case management. A BOK usually includes a comprehensive set of concepts, terms, tools, and activities that apply to a profession, as defined by a relevant professional society (Babylon Online Dictionary). While the term body of knowledge is used to describe the document that defines that knowledge, the BOK itself is a dynamic reference that is more than simply a collection of terms and concepts, a professional reading list, a library, a Web site or collection of Web sites, a description of professional functions, or even a collection of information (Project Management Institute, 2008; Wikipedia, 2010). Therefore, a BOK is a prescribed aggregation of essential knowledge in a particular field or specialty that an individual within the field is expected to have mastered to effectively practice and be considered a practitioner within the specialty.

Based on the definition of the term body of knowledge above, the Commission defines the CMBOK as a comprehensive resource of essential knowledge in the field of case management that a case manager is expected to master and become knowledgeable, skilled, as well as experienced in, to effectively care for clients and their support systems and be considered a competent case management practitioner.

Definition of Case Management Body of Knowledge (CMBOK)

The CMBOK provides case managers and other healthcare professionals with a comprehensive online resource based on a clearly defined knowledge framework for the field of case management. The CMBOK reflects generally accepted principles and practices for case managers and other healthcare professionals across various practice settings and professional disciplines. It is an aggregation of essential information that describes what a case manager needs to know and be able to do effectively and competently for the primary benefit of clients (consumers of healthcare services) and their support systems.

For case managers and other healthcare professionals who desire to have appropriate, reliable, and current information to support case management activities, the Commission’s CMBOK provides an online knowledge resource on all key case management processes and knowledge domains. The CMBOK is a dynamic reference and is intended to expand and be updated on an ongoing basis to keep it relevant, reliable, credible, and cutting-edge. Updates will be based on scanning the professional case management and other related literature, recommendations of case management experts, and feedback from the CMBOK users.

The case management framework relates the skills and knowledge needed with the activities and processes that a case manager performs on the job. For the Case Management Process and each of the knowledge domains (described in the Case Management Knowledge Framework section and listed in the framework on the home page), the CMBOK provides:

  • A short description
  • A summary of each domain to provide an overall understanding of what the domain is, including key information on generally accepted case management practices
  • A summary of the Case Management Process to provide an overall understanding of what the process is about, including key information on generally accepted case management practices
  • Expanded information on case management knowledge topics (domain, subdomains, process, and phases of the process). This work addresses how a topic relates to the competent and effective practice of case management and will continue to expand over time to provide deeper, richer content for all case managers

Who Developed the CMBOK

The process of developing the framework for case management began with a panel of Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) that met regularly and developed the framework under the guidance of a case management researcher and an expert in creating knowledge frameworks. To ensure the reliability, appropriateness, and relevance of the CMBOK, SMEs were selected based on specific qualification criteria such as:

  • Years of experience
  • Areas of practice
  • Professional specialization
  • Educational background
  • Geographic location
  • Diverse experience and perspectives
  • Active involvement in the field of case management
  • Engagement in scholarly activities

In addition, the SMEs represented various backgrounds (e.g., nursing, social work, vocational rehabilitation counseling, and behavioral health specialists), case management practice settings (e.g., acute care, health insurance, government/veterans administration, private, rehabilitation), and U.S. geographic regions.

Through a think-tank workshop format in October 2009, the SME panel reviewed the findings from the Commission’s 2009 national survey of roles and functions of case managers. Nearly 7,000 case managers from all U.S. regions participated in this study. The case manager’s role and function study resulted in a comprehensive description of current case management practice. It delineated the primary roles and functions of case managers in various settings and identified key knowledge areas required for effective and competent performance of case managers.

Using findings from the study, the SMEs determined the implications of the findings for case management practice, education, and professional development. Then they reached consensus on seven essential domains of case management knowledge, 38 subdomains, more than 350 specific knowledge topics, and 9 major phases in an overall Case Management Process. These elements formed the case management knowledge framework.

Developing the Case Management Framework

© CCMC 2011. All rights reserved.

View larger image

The Commission followed a rigorous development process that reflects best practices for defining and launching new products, engaging professionals both in case management and in product development. The CMBOK reflects the input of many people from within and outside the Commission’s community of case managers who defined the framework and contributed to the development of the CMBOK knowledge content. These experts consisted of the following:

  • A panel of subject matter experts (SMEs) – 8 case managers across a range of professional disciplines and practice settings
  • A knowledge editor – Hussein Tahan, DNSc, RN
  • A customer advisory panel (CAP) – 60 case managers, supervisors of case managers, and others directly or indirectly involved in case management, roughly representing the mix and variety of disciplines, experience, and practice settings within the case management profession
  • Professional writers and copy editors
  • Peer reviewers
  • Product development, information design, and web development professionals
  • The Commission's leadership, including volunteer members of the new product development task force and the sitting commissioners.

These individuals provided input over the course of more than a year to help define and guide the creation of the CMBOK so that it reflects the input and needs of the overall case management community. Some continue to be involved in expanding the knowledge content and/or enhancing the product design. The Commission recognizes the importance of such ongoing review and improvement to ensure that the CMBOK remains current and reflects the latest practices of case management.