Companies are using advanced technologies to manufacture their products, create intellectual property, and deliver their varied services. But are they making use of new technologies to optimally manage their own workforce? In the majority of cases, the answer is No.
Most of the tools and processes being used to assess job demands, hire capable workers, prevent injuries, manage recovery, and return to work, have not kept up with available software and methodologies. These new advancements can substantially enhance the health, safety, and productivity of a company’s greatest resource – its employees.
Let’s review some of these options with which employers and brokers should become familiar.
Technology for Physical Demands & Ergonomic Risks
Do employers really understand the physical demands of each of their company’s jobs, as well as the ergonomic risks that each job may present? Traditional job descriptions do the former poorly, and the latter not at all. With the use of today’s technology, a company risk manager can potentially access comprehensive, quantified digital job profiles for virtually every position in their organization, either “off the shelf” or customized with a few modifications. Additionally, they can use a smartphone to capture an employee performing his/her job and upload it into artificial intelligence-powered software that automatically produces a video digital job profile displaying the job in action with quantified physical demands.
Value of Digital Job Profile
Using today’s technologies, an employer can cost-effectively build a digital database of all their company’s jobs which can be used to create precise protocols for post-offer employment testing.
- flag high-demand jobs, ranking the body regions most susceptible to injury, leading to prompt ergonomic mitigation.
- suggest training programs to build and maintain endurance, specifically tailored to the demands of each job.
- facilitate return to work based on digitally matching the employee’s clinical status during, and at the end of rehabilitation, to his/her own job or other company jobs in the database, consistent with any physical restrictions or limitations.
- decrease an employer’s risk exposure for ADA non-compliance.
The technology of this type is not confined to industrial applications but is also available for office workers. Office worker technology can provide computerized video-guidance allowing the employee to assess their workspaces (computer, monitor, keyboard, chair, etc.), generate instant ergonomic modifications, and if necessary, recommendations for the purchase of more suitable equipment. This feedback and information support productivity, comfort, and a reduced risk of work-related conditions.
Share Digital Job Profile with Stakeholders
Last, but not least, if and when an injury occurs, the digital job profile is electronically shareable with the employer’s insurer, TPA, or managed care organization (or for self-administration) and provides a roadmap for claim and medical managers to make informed compensability determinations and pursue evidence-based treatment and return-to-work strategies. But more about that in a future installment.
Employers, and brokers are well-advised to explore these novel approaches which modernize our approach to workforce management.
Jacob Lazarovic MD, Medical Advisor at Amaxx LLC, has considerable experience in managed care, including 18 years as chief medical officer at Broadspire , a leading TPA. His department produced clinical guidelines and criteria to support sound medical claim and case management practices; participated in analysis, reporting and benchmarking of outcomes and quality improvement initiatives; and operated a comprehensive in-house physician review (peer review) service. He has been published extensively in industry journals and has held several senior medical management positions at companies including HealthAmerica, Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Florida and Vivra Specialty Partners. In his current capacity as CMO at MyAbilities Technologies, he has developed evidence-based online clinical applications that support the company’s digital job profile software, and its claim and medical management tools geared to functionality-driven return to work and job-mat