Emergence of Physician-based Telemedicine Adds Value in Workers’ Comp Industry

Company Nurse expands client services and continues to improve claims outcomes with launch of new offering Summer 2017

By Paul Binsfeld, president and founder of Company Nurse, LLC

We have seen countless advances made in the consumer healthcare space in recent years. With a few keyboard strokes and clicks, we can get a live count of how many people are waiting to be seen at an urgent care clinic, check-in online for our appointment and even receive a text message when the physician is ready to see us.

How did you make your last doctor appointment? Or fill your prescription? Chances are, you opened an app on your tablet, pulled up the website on your cell phone or made a phone call to complete the transaction. Comfort and convenience are king in today’s healthcare landscape and it is the technology at our fingertips that makes it all possible.

For 20 years, we have been aiding employers, insurance underwriters and claims adjusting companies in the workers’ compensation industry by using telephonic nurse triage to provide first aid recommendations for conditions that do not require a physician evaluation. Nurse triage is the original “tele” medicine. Now – as we alluded to in the January edition of our newsletter – the next wave of telemedicine has arrived. By making virtual physician visits available to injured employees whenever they need it and wherever they report an injury, we can both further reduce costs and improve treatment outcomes.

Since our exploration began last September, we have been hard at work with our research and technology partners to make virtual doctor visits a reality for the organizations we serve; in a way that focuses on the injured worker’s experience as a patient first and foremost, as well as meets the needs of clients, claims adjusters and employers. This technology not only offers great comfort and convenience for injured employees with more serious injuries, but is also an attractive option for employers and insurance providers in parts of the country where there are few medical centers taking workers’ compensation cases. In rural areas, this is particularly applicable, as clinics can be located far away or offering limited hours of operation.

The physician-based telemedicine technology provider will work in tandem with our nurse triage platform to allow nurses to refer seriously injured workers to physicians as soon as possible (where applicable). Additionally, Company Nurse is able to send the detailed triage notes collected on the initial call to the telemedicine provider, so that they have the information prior to the injured worker’s appointment. This ensures that no time is wasted in bringing the physician up-to-speed on the injured employee’s condition. 

From there, the injured worker can quickly and easily book an appointment, be seen by a physician and have their doctor write a prescription for them, without ever leaving the privacy and solace of their own home. Available 12 hours per day, seven days per week, the virtual platform also gives patients the option to set virtual or in-person follow-up appointments with the physician online as needed, to track progress and status of their injury.

Thanks to the HIPAA-compliant portal, compatible with smart phones, tablets and computers, injured workers will never have to experience the wait time and hassle that often comes with visiting a doctor’s office again. For those not interested in a virtual visit and desiring an in-person appointment, the nurse or physician will provide the same warm, efficient service using Company Nurse’s 22-point check system for evaluating medical clinics and referring injured workers.

The launch of this physician-based telemedicine offering is just around the corner – coming as early as July – and we are eager to further our mission to:

  • Take great care of injured employees to help them return to work faster, maintain income, be more efficient and overall increase satisfaction
  • Build morale amongst the employer’s team
  • Expedite claims adjusters’ process to help them close claims more quickly
  • Reduce costs and ease communication regarding injured worker claims for employers

20 years ago during the dot com boom, a friend of mine said to me, “soon, ‘e-business’ will just be called ‘business.’” Today, I can safely say that in five years or less, “telemedicine,” will just be “medicine.” I spoke about this recently in my presentation of this new program at the 2017 ExecuSummit, where I was overwhelmed by the support and interest received from new and longtime colleagues. We look forward to sharing more of our journey as we continue to advance our programs in the digital age.

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