Workers’ compensation insurance carriers and third-party administrators (TPA) can drive industry innovation and end-user satisfaction by using technology platforms on the Internet and smartphone apps. The use of these emerging technologies can make it easier to report and properly document a work injury, monitor a claim’s status by all parties, and improve access to healthcare via telemedicine. The investment in technology can end up reducing program costs, and make it easier to settle workers’ compensation claims. Now is the time to explore these options.
Improve Injury Reporting via App-Based Technology
Advances in technology allow employer representatives and employees to download claim apps to their phones to better manage workers’ compensation claims. It all starts with allowing employer representatives and managers to have apps on their smartphones to document work injuries for a quicker claim response.
- App-based technology can allow employer representatives to initiate the claims process immediately after a work injury. This includes entering data on a mobile device that populates fields into a First Report of Injury, and submits it to the workers’ compensation insurance carrier, or TPA upon completion;
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- App-based technology can allow employer representatives to document the work injury by allowing video and photos to be taken immediately after a work injury occurs. These images can then be uploaded directly to a newly created claim; and
- App-based technology can provide employer representatives with immediate video access to a claim handler to ensure all information is received, the incident is properly documented, and better direct medical care via a field nurse case manager.
Not only does the employer benefit by being provided with better tools to document and report the work injury, but the injured employee can receive immediate direction regarding medical care.
Real-time Claim Dashboard for Injured Employees
A lack of communication, and information breeds contempt in workers’ compensation claims. This is especially the case for employees when they are trying to understand the workers’ compensation process, receive timely communication regarding claim status, and communicate with the claim handler regarding important matters such as wage loss payments, and approval of medical care. Evolving technologies allow claim teams to provide employee with this timely information.
Benefits of using these platforms include:
- Upload documents directly to an open claim. Documents can be scanned to a platform by using the camera on a smartphone, which can convert the photo to a PDF;
- Notifications can be sent to the employee if information or documents are missing. Common examples include missing paystubs for temporary party disability benefits, medical authorizations, and requests for additional medical care; and
- Coordination with direct deposits, and immediate notice once payment is made, and received by a bank, or other financial institution.
The ability to create these platforms on the Internet and smartphone apps can provide a secure method of communication and real-time information that gives all parties peace of mind. It can also assist in storing information that a disorganized employee may often misplaced.
Access to Telehealth to Improve Medical Care Access
The COVID-19 pandemic allowed countless Americans to use telehealth medicine for the first time. It also gave medical providers the ability to refine their best practices in providing healthcare. Benefits of integrating telehealth appointments into the workers’ compensation claim process include:
- Reduce the expense of having an on-site medical professional;
- Allows doctors and triage nurses to assess injured workers from a remote location;
- Enables medical experts such as radiologists to evaluate images and prepare reports; and
- Uses fully integrated technology to access information on a number of cases.
Other interested stakeholders, such as a field nurse case manager or qualified rehabilitation consultants, can also attend these appointments remotely. By not incurring travel and reserve time fees associated with the attendance at these appointments, there are other added benefits.
- Less travel and waiting times = less frustration;
- Reduces costs to a program = greater savings; and
- Everyone WINS!
Ever-changing technology is readily available to improve the workers’ compensation claims process. While there are costs associated with development and deployment, there is a long-term benefit to using these tools to improve the claims reporting process, allow for injured employees to have quicker access to information, and reducing workers’ compensation program costs. It also drives end-user satisfaction that benefits the employer and employee.
Author Michael Stack, CEO Amaxx LLC. He is an expert in workers’ compensation cost containment systems and helps employers reduce their workers’ comp costs by 20% to 50%. He works as a consultant to large and mid-market clients, is a co-author of Your Ultimate Guide To Mastering Workers Comp Costs, a comprehensive step-by-step manual of cost containment strategies based on hands-on field experience, and is founder & lead trainer of Amaxx Workers’ Comp Training Center , which offers the Certified Master of Workers’ Compensation national designation.
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