Employers and Self-Insured Groups shed light on how telemedicine is making an impact.
By Paul Binsfeld, president and founder of Company Nurse
For the past twenty years, nurse triage has been helping employers, insurance underwriters, and claims adjusting companies in the workers’ compensation industry by providing first aid recommendations for conditions that do not require a physician evaluation. Today, many in the workers’ compensation industry would like to take telehealth to the next level. By making virtual physician visits available to injured employees whenever they need and wherever they report an injury, reduced costs and better treatment outcomes could be further improved.
Technology has now made it possible for quality physicians to provide a medical and work ability assessment, diagnosis, and treatment plan for a majority of new injuries, excluding catastrophic or more serious injuries.
Both employees and employers are very interested in physician-based telemedicine with the reasons being twofold: the technology offers great convenience for injured employees, and there are fewer clinics in many parts of the country that are taking workers’ compensation injuries. So, telemedicine is perceived as a viable option, especially in rural areas.
To set up telemedicine for success, however, triage by registered nurses remains a critical component. Injured workers must be properly channeled to the right level of care – for the right service – otherwise telemedicine may not work as well. In order to more fully understand how companies may integrate telemedicine services successfully, my management team has conducted an investigation.
Our research started at the California Association of Joint Powers Authorities (CAJPA) conference this past September. We organized a roundtable session with a variety of employers and key players in self-insured groups to assess how telemedicine could positively impact their employee experiences. In mid- and late-December, we then conducted a series of sample calls for some of these industry leaders to get in-depth feedback and insights into this space.
I will be presenting my findings at the 14th Annual Workers’ Compensation Insurance ExecuSummit, being held January 31 to February 1 in Connecticut. I will explore triage as being the original “tele” medicine, and how today that virtual care is being extended to the physician level. How to partner with and integrate physician-based telemedicine will also be a pertinent part of my presentation.
This future thinking concept is aligned with the workers’ compensation industry innovators claims management approach to continually strive to improve delivery of medical care while reducing overall costs. Telemedicine in workers’ compensation will be making great strides in the next five years alone; so 2017 is a pivotal year to get informed and immersed in this growing area of health care.
I will share more findings on my investigation in the coming weeks. Stay tuned.
Paul Binsfeld is the founder and president of Company Nurse, LLC, a firm that specializes in medical triage and injury management for workers’ compensation. In Q4 2016, Binsfeld formally launched the first-to-market SaaS solution for worker’s compensation nurse triage management.
Binsfeld’s career began as a workers’ compensation consultant with mid-size employers helping to streamline claims processes and improve outcomes for injured workers. By working with many different types of employers, he identified a common need for early intervention in the workers’ compensation claims and injury management process, and thus, Company Nurse was born in 1997. Binsfeld – one of the pioneers of the pre-claim nurse triage industry – was recently appointed to the Entrepreneurial Insurance Alliance Advisory Board of Directors. He has over 25 years of experience in workers’ compensation and is one of the most influential leaders in the market.