BY DR. STEVEN A. GEST, M.D., Founder and CMO
There’s never a good time for a worker to be injured. Whether the injury occurs on the job or away from work, the resulting disruption in scheduling and productivity places extra stress on employers.
Typically, the response is reactive: the manager is focused on finding replacement coverage for the injured worker and rescheduling tasks to restore lost productivity.. All that extra work may leave only limited time to follow up with the injured worker and ensure that he or she is receiving appropriate care and rehabilitation.
Don’t let this happen in your workplace. There is a limited window of time during which rehabilitation efforts are likely to be successful in closing out the claim and getting the injured employee back to work. Proactive, prompt follow-up and effective case management can make all the difference between an injured worker who returns to his or her job, and one who drops off the radar, never makes a full recovery, and goes on costing your business money indefinitely.
Defining “Prompt” Injury Care
Just how prompt do you need to be – and what do you have to gain? Here’s why you should make it a priority to follow up with workers after an injury, and proactively make sure that they are receiving the rehabilitation care they need:
- You have less than twelve weeks. If an injured worker is off work for twelve weeks there is a greater-than-even chance the worker will still be off one year later. Some injuries, of course, take more than twelve weeks to recover from. But prompt treatment and the earliest possible enrollment in a rehabilitation and return-to-work program have the greatest chance of success.
- It costs less in the long run. A study of more than 10,000 workers who were injured or who suffered occupational illness found that prompt rehabilitation was more costly in the short term – but that in the long term, it reduced total claim costs for employers and insurers. In part, this was because prompt rehabilitation substantially increased the odds of an employee returning to work either with the same employer, or with another employer. In either case, the worker is employed and the claim is closed.
The next important question is: what works best to rehabilitate injured workers and get them back on the job? The answer is: technology-based case management. Without case management, workers may miss appointments or have trouble getting them in the first place. Without secure access to accurate, real-time digital data, and employers may fall out of the loop with respect to the worker’s progress.
Case management that emphasizes cutting-edge healthcare technologies, including telemedicine, puts everybody, quite literally, on the same (web) page. Injured employees can easily schedule appointments online and be seen immediately by a health professional. Employers can access real-time data to track how the injured worker’s recovery is progressing. Finally, providers can minimize the possibility of missed appointments that impact their performance metrics and revenues. And once a worker is back on the job, he or she can continue to meet online with medical professionals for follow-up care without taking more time off work. And employers have visibility to ensure that the worker’s recovery is going as planned.
GoHealthNow’s occupational health and wellness technology platform is designed to keep employees healthy, and help injured workers get back to work as soon as possible. Integrated solutions include safety programs, injury prevention and care services, personalized health resources, and 24x7 telemedicine sessions that connect workers to a healthcare professional. And employers can monitor care and claims through comprehensive data in a secure portal.
So when a worker is injured, remember: the faster you can get him or her on the road to recovery, the faster you can close out claims and minimize all associated costs. An integrated health and wellness technology platform, like we offer at GoHealthNow, keeps employees healthy and productive, while helping employers save time and money. It’s good for your workers, and it’s good for your business.