Managing workers compensation issues is always challenging. Even large corporations struggle to put systems in place that get critical information where it needs to go. And for small and medium sized businesses, the challenges are often even more severe.
But a recent report from Marsh Workers Compensation Center of Excellence shows that technology is helping employers manage worker safety and workers compensation in a number of ways. For example, smartphone apps are streamlining injury reporting and helping workers get needed safety training on the fly. Telemedicine is allowing injured workers to connect to health care professionals almost as soon as an injury occurs. Even communication around claims has benefitted from tech solutions such as customized email alerts for medical appointments and prescription refills.
Nurse Triage Lowers Costs
Telenursing, in particular, can be a boon to small and medium-sized businesses. These nurse triage programs connect workers to a specially trained nurse who can provide instant advice about what to do when an injury occurs. The nurse gets a brief medical history and a description of the injury and evaluates symptoms such as bleeding and pain. She gives first-aid advice and, where appropriate, directs the employee to an in-network healthcare provider. If the worker needs no medical intervention, she advises them on self-care.
At Bank of America, which instituted nurse triage last year, the system also uploads the notes from the phone call to BofA’s claims processing center. Thus, adjusters can review the interaction should the need should arise.
According to Donna Sides, a senior insurance manager and workers’ compensation supervisor at BofA, the program has resulted in lower claims severity and lower claims cost.
Similar programs across the United States have shown comparable results. According to Owen-Dunn Insurance Services, one nurse triage pilot study showed a 66 percent drop in ER utilization and a cost savings of $16 million. Another study revealed a cost savings of $1.70 for every dollar invested in nurse triage.
Improved Employee Morale
In addition to cost savings, prompt intervention by a trained professional has been shown to improve employee morale. Workers believe their employers take their injuries seriously when they get immediate care. And they appreciate the personal interaction with the triage nurse. This is particularly true when nurses are available for 24/7 follow-up to answer questions or give advice.
Of course, a nurse triage program may not be a good fit for every employer. Very small businesses with fewer than 100 employees might not see enough cost savings to make the program worthwhile, says Owen-Dunn. So take a look at your worker’s compensation spending on ER visits before you invest. Then estimate your cost savings based on data the program you’re considering provides. If the program will pay for itself in lower ER utilization, earlier return to work and improved employee morale, it’s probably worth the cost.
At The Carmoon Group, our trained professionals work hard to meet your risk management needs. We work with you to develop a comprehensive risk management strategy and an insurance program tailored specifically for you. Give us a call today to set up an appointment for your insurance review. Or contact us online, and we will get back to you right away.