Telemedicine: Transforming Workers’ Compensation and Reducing Costs

Employer workers’ compensation premiums averaged $43.78 per hour worked in March 2024, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. Since the number of OSHA recordables for a business has an impact on the workers’ compensation rates, businesses should focus not only on ways to keep the workplace safe, but also manage workplace injuries in a better way.

This is where telemedicine has made a huge difference. It has allowed businesses, especially those operating in accident-prone industries, to offer immediate medical care to workers who have suffered an on-the-job accident.

Such tele-triage virtual solutions, like doctor-led triage services, can quickly connect a board-certified doctor or a medical professional to the injured worker to assess the situation. Employers have recognized that this promptness reduces unnecessary ER visits and OSHA recordable occurrences.

How can telemedicine help employers save money on workers’ compensation by streamlining healthcare on the working site?”

Telemedicine is a promising solution for worker’s compensation.

Remote medical care via phone or video consultations is transforming workers’ compensation. This removes geographical constraints and long trips for injured workers. An employee with a sprained ankle in a remote area could get a doctor’s exam and treatment plan at home. Telemedicine speeds treatment, lowering recuperation time and missed workdays. It streamlines claims and may cut healthcare expenditures for corporations. Telemedicine will become vital to a strong workers’ compensation system as awareness rises and legislation change.

How Telemedicine Can Improve Outcome for Workers’ Compensation

Telemedicine is now being leveraged by companies not just as a reactive measure for managing injuries but also as a proactive tool that places the injured worker at the heart of the workers’ compensation process. This approach enables immediate medical response right at the site of the injury through phone and video consultations, ensuring that physicians can intervene directly and promptly as soon as an injury occurs.

This is how telemedicine can help employers save on workers’ compensation costs.  

Offers Immediate Access to Care: One of the biggest benefits of telemedicine in workers’ compensation is eliminating geographical constraints. Remote workers may have trouble getting quality work-related injury treatment. Travel and long wait periods might delay treatment and recovery at in-person appointments.

Telemedicine models like doctor-led triage connects patients to doctors quickly and easily. Doctors can consult with employees remotely, providing early action and competent medical guidance.

Saves unnecessary trips to ER: Many workplace injuries, such as slips, falls, overexertion, and incidents involving moving objects, are generally minor. Yet, without immediate onsite medical care, the typical response often escalates to an ER visit, even for conditions that could be effectively managed with first aid. This not only risks classifying simple injuries like sprains as OSHA recordables but also drives up costs due to ER charges. The doctor triage model, an advanced form of telemedicine, addresses this by minimizing unnecessary ER visits, ensuring that injuries are assessed and treated promptly and appropriately at the workplace. This approach not only cuts down on medical expenses but also streamlines the care process, potentially improving recovery times and outcomes.

Enhanced Communication and Support: Telemedicine facilitates continuous communication between the physician, the injured worker, and their family, which is crucial for addressing concerns and managing the psychological impact of the injury. Additionally, telemedicine eliminates the need for physical transportation to follow-up appointments. By enabling direct connection with a doctor-on-call via digital devices, telemedicine effectively treats non-emergency workplace injuries without escalating workers’ compensation costs. This ongoing support and communication lead to reduced anxieties and quicker recoveries.

Faster Return to Work: Thisongoing support through doctor-led triage services also helps employees join back work in a more streamlined manner.  This is facilitated by a strong and active coordination between the telemedicine physician, site supervisors, and claims administrators.  

At WorkPartners, we understand the importance of prompt and effective care for workplace injuries. That’s why we offer telemedicine with qualified doctors as first contacts for telemedicine urgent care.

Types of Telemedicine Services that are Reducing Claim Costs

–   Nurse Triage: Serving as the first line of defense, nurse triage often manages initial contact with injured workers remotely. Through telephone consultations, nurses assess the severity of an injury by inquiring about the incident, symptoms, and the specific location of the pain. Based on this assessment, they may provide first aid instructions, such as applying cold packs, elevating limbs, or recommending over-the-counter pain medications. If the injury appears minor, nurses might suggest self-care measures or a telemedicine follow-up for further evaluation.

–   Doctor Triage: Doctor Triage is an advanced form of telemedicine where a board-certified doctor, or an MD (like in the case of WorkPartners) responds to give immediate medical assistance to an injured employee. Using video calls, doctors can perform virtual examinations by observing the injured area and assessing the employee’s range of motion. This allows them to identify injuries and develop personalized treatment plans. This might include sending electronic prescriptions to local pharmacies, suggesting physical therapy, or advising on rest and recovery. Doctors also monitor the employee’s progress during follow-up visits, ensuring a tailored and effective recovery process.

Telemedicine as a Strategic Tool in Workers’ Compensation

Telemedicine is becoming a crucial cost-control tool in workers’ compensation claims. It is not helping businesses save money on workers’ compensation but also changing the way injured workers interact with employers. This is leading to a more trust-based approach in handling workplace injuries, leading to faster recoveries.
WorkPartners stands out in the telemedicine landscape due to our extensive background in the insurance industry, specifically in managing work injuries. Our success lies in our unique approach to handling injuries. We excel in telemedicine by prioritizing immediate, personalized care, fostering strong doctor-patient relationships, and streamlining the treatment process for injured workers.  

Contact us today to learn how we can help you use telemedicine to benefit your company and its employees.