How Technology is Changing the Workers’ Compensation Process

The workers’ compensation system is designed to allow workers to report injuries and illnesses incurred in their line of employment, and asks their employer and their insurer to provide compensation and, if necessary, special accommodations for the injured worker. The system has good intentions, but it is not a perfect system by any means. However, recent technological developments have the potential to address these issues and drive further change in the workers’ compensation system.

Reporting of Claims

Workers’ compensation laws require prompt reporting of a work-related injury or disease. The problem comes when injured workers struggle with the reporting mechanism. How, when, where, and to whom do they make the report? Filling out a paper claim form is inefficient, it sometimes is  hard to read the penmanship, and the form may make its way around the office without ever arriving on the right desk.

One way some companies have found to make this process more accurate and efficient is by providing automated forms. They are generally pre-filled with a lot of the necessary personal information of the injured employee. The form can be accessed by a mobile app, email, or even by calling an 800 number.

The completed report is then automatically sent, by the click of a button, to those who need to receive it: the employee’s supervisor, human resources department, safety officer, or anyone else the employer has determined needs to receive the report. Employers who have used this procedure are pleased with the results.

Medical Treatment: The Role of Telemedicine

Telemedicine, also referred to as telehealth, is a way for healthcare professionals to evaluate patient injuries using technology in place of in-person visits. It has been used primarily to help those who live or are injured in remote areas.

Recently, telemedicine has been used for injured workers who do not always know how to respond to an injury. The injured worker can telephone a registered nurse 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to report an injury. The nurse will discuss the patient’s medical history and pain level, and get details of the injury and a description of the accident. Depending on the state of the technology, the nurse may even be able to view the injury.

If immediate treatment is required, the nurse can direct the employee to the nearest in-network provider. If immediate treatment is not necessary, then the nurse can make an appointment with the appropriate provider. The claims adjustor will have immediate access to the nurse’s medical report.

Claims Processing

One problem that occurs in claims processing is that the claim never reaches the appropriate desk. With various technologies involved in the transfer of information, mobile devices used to submit a claim are automatically time-stamped. Adjusters can use cellphones to record video of an injury.

When claims are exchanged through mobile devices, it is much easier for information to be relayed back to the claimant. This increases customer service and satisfaction.

About ISU-The Olson Duncan Agency

At ISU-The Olson Duncan Agency, our goal is to provide clients with a total solution, not just a quote or a contract. We provide businesses and individuals with insurance and risk management solutions, and we aim to provide real value and build trustworthy, long-term relationships with our clients. To learn more about our services, give us a call today at (310) 373-6441 to speak with one of our professionals.

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