From communicating with employees to training to health care claims, new technology is improving the efficiency of workers’ compensation programs. Smartphone apps, wearable technology, and telemedicine are all ways technology has benefitted workers’ comp programs. Experts foresee new technology continually impacting workers’ comp in the areas of advocacy, case management, filling prescriptions, health records, doctor’s appointments, and other areas.
Smartphone apps are empowering injured workers in the claims process. These apps are being used in communication with employees, which can provide critical safety information and claim updates, as well as sharing workforce training. They can also be used to direct injured workers to their preferred providers and deliver care to employees.
Wearable technology is also having an impact by alerting workers of danger, and monitoring factors such as fatigue, employee movements, and body temperature. This technology can be used when training employees or in employee wellness programs. Wearable technology is used in the construction industry with vests and helmets that alert employees of potentially dangerous situations.
Video conferencing has had a huge impact on both meetings with claims professionals reviewing claims and providing healthcare remotely. In one recent success story: A telenursing program implemented by Bank of America allows workers to talk to a registered nurse who then uploads the claim and assesses the medical history, pain level, and injury of the employee. The nurse then recommends or refers treatment all during the same call. The telenursing program at Bank of America has resulted in lower claims severity and lower claims costs.
Video conferencing can also be used to facilitate meetings and discussions among various people in the claim process, such as employers, case nurses, attorneys and others from remote locations.
While technology was once thought to be cold and impersonal, it has had a positive impact on workers’ compensation. New technology has improved the injured worker’s experience and has lessened much of the uncertainty surrounding the claims process. With new technology, people can obtain, compile, and analyze massive amounts of data at a time, as well as communicate quickly, efficiently, and from remote locations. Both employers and employees are taking advantage of these technological advancements and moving towards improving the overall efficiency of their systems.