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Workers Comp Telemedicine – Is Telehealth Really Worth It?

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Is Workers Comp Telemedicine In The Age of COVID-19 Worth The Time and Money?

 After experiencing my first telemedicine (telehealth) appointment today, I decided to see if Workers Comp Telemedicine would be worth the conversion. 

Picture of Russian Workers Comp Telemedicne
Wikimedia License – Дмитрий Кошелев

I had written about in-home doctor visits for Workers Comp a few years ago.  

By the way, my checkup appointment was great – other than the physician running late.   A physician running late is understandable in the current shelter-in-place environment.   The only requirements were that I check my blood pressure, heart rate, weight, and temperature before the appointment. 

A great article was written by GoodRx covered Telemedicine very well.  According to the article (find it here) telemedicine:

is not appropriate for emergency situations like a heart attack or stroke, cuts or lacerations, or broken bones that require x-rays, splints, or casts. Anything that requires immediate, hands-on care should be handled in person. However, telemedicine is very useful for simple issues and follow-up consultations.

Three Huge Advantages of Workers Comp Telemedicine 

Prescription drugs Workers Comp Telemedicine close up
StockUnlimited

Three big advantages of telehealth appointments quickly came to mind after my remote appointment.

1.  Worksite After  Return to Work  

If an injured employee has returned to work, why remove them from their job site for a follow-up medical appointment?  Having an injured employee “return to their injury” plus having to take off work may not be the best risk management/loss control method

The injured employee (even remote workers) can very easily log into a web portal from anywhere with the smartphone as I did today.  

2.  Initial Instant Care For Minor Injuries 

One of my fellow consultants mentioned to me two weeks ago that Workers Comp Telemedicine firms in Missouri have sprung up at large manufacturers.  One of his clients (manufacturing plant) has used telehealth for months.  

The injured employee logs into instant access with a Doctor or nurse for injury treatment and recommendations such as coming to a physician’s in-person for further treatment.  

Of course, more serious injuries would skip the telehealth login and be seen at a physician’s office.  The very serious injuries should always be treated in an Emergency Room.   

3.  Prescription and Physical Therapy Management 

Some of the medical appointments when I was carrying a 250 file load that seemed unnecessary were prescription and physical therapy management appointments.  The injured employee must leave the worksite or their home to go to an appointment that could have been handled with a phone call.  

Could workers comp telemedicine work for these types of appointments?  Yes, they should work most of the time.  

Main Drawbacks With Workers Comp Telemedicine

Set of medical icon Workers Comp Telemedicine vector image
StockUnlimited

The main hurdle with Workers Comp Telemedicine comes from its physical aspects.   Workers’ Compensation injuries create the need for hands-on treatment for neurological, emergency, orthopedic, or other types of treatment. 

American ingenuity will figure out how to jump over the physical component of work comp appointments.  It is just a matter of time.   

The other main drawback would for the malingerers.  Let us leave that one alone as that drawback obviously should be a concern.   

The final drawback comes from the IT area.  You need a good connection for the video.   Check out my one favorite trick that will give you 50% more router speed for your Workers Comp telemedicine appointments.  

Is Workers Comp Telemedicine Worth It? 

Workers Comp telemedicine justifies further discussion and uses if the one main drawback can be overcome in the next few years. 

 

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2 Responses

  1. Telemedicine is now becoming popular. I had a telemedicine appointment today. Will the worker’s compensation industry adopt telemedicine? When will this happen?

  2. Alise, worker’s compensation telemedicine has developed very well for follow up appointments. Many workers’ compensation injuries involve fractures, strains, neurological damage, and other types that may require an in-person physical appointment. Thanks for your question. Another article on telemedicine can be found here.

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James Moore

Raleigh, NC, United States

About The Author...

James founded a Workers’ Compensation consulting firm, J&L Risk Mgmt Consultants, Inc. in 1996. J&L’s mission is to reduce our clients’ Workers Compensation premiums by using time-tested techniques. J&L’s claims, premium, reserve and Experience Mod reviews have saved employers over $9.8 million in earned premiums over the last three years. J&L has saved numerous companies from bankruptcy proceedings as a result of insurance overpayments.

James has over 27 years of experience in insurance claims, audit, and underwriting, specializing in Workers’ Compensation. He has supervised, and managed the administration of Workers’ Compensation claims, and underwriting in over 45 states. His professional experience includes being the Director of Risk Management for the North Carolina School Boards Association. He created a very successful Workers’ Compensation Injury Rehabilitation Unit for school personnel.

James’s educational background, which centered on computer technology, culminated in earning a Masters of Business Administration (MBA); an Associate in Claims designation (AIC); and an Associate in Risk Management designation (ARM). He is a Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) and a licensed financial advisor. The NC Department of Insurance has certified him as an insurance instructor. He also possesses a Bachelors’ Degree in Actuarial Science.

LexisNexis has twice recognized his blog as one of the Top 25 Blogs on Workers’ Compensation. J&L has been listed in AM Best’s Preferred Providers Directory for Insurance Experts – Workers Compensation for over eight years. He recently won the prestigious Baucom Shine Lifetime Achievement Award for his volunteer contributions to the area of risk management and safety. James was recently named as an instructor for the prestigious Insurance Academy.

James is on the Board of Directors and Treasurer of the North Carolina Mid-State Safety Council. He has published two manuals on Workers’ Compensation and three different claims processing manuals. He has also written and has been quoted in numerous articles on reducing Workers’ Compensation costs for public and private employers. James publishes a weekly newsletter with 7,000 readers.

He currently possess press credentials and am invited to various national Workers Compensation conferences as a reporter.

James’s articles or interviews on Workers’ Compensation have appeared in the following publications or websites:

  • Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS)
  • Entrepreneur Magazine
  • Bloomberg Business News
  • WorkCompCentral.com
  • Claims Magazine
  • Risk & Insurance Magazine
  • Insurance Journal
  • Workers Compensation.com
  • LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites
  • Various trade publications

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