The construction industry considers workplace injury a significant cost center for both large and small firms. This leads to a 71% higher cost for worker’s compensation – a rate that is twice the average for employers in other industries. So, how can construction companies benefit from telemedicine for workplace injuries? 

Creating proactive worker safety programs and responding to injuries properly when they occur are key strategies for any construction company to be successful. 

That’s exactly why Shiron Vick, owner of The Vick Companies, LLC, a health and safety consulting company, says, “We recommend all of our clients use OrthoLive Remote Injury Care.”

Why Do We Need Telemedicine for Construction Workplace Injuries?

Injuries can occur in any job setting, but construction is one of the fields most prone to physical worker injury. According to FindLaw, construction firms experience just over four nonfatal injuries per every 100 workers. A recent report showed 80,000 construction employees each year experience an on-the-job injury that causes them to miss work.  

The most common types of nonfatal construction industry incidents include falls, trips, and sprains, injuries from equipment, and repetitive motion injuries, where the muscle or joint is damaged due to overuse. The statistics show how costly these injuries are: one of every six dollars of employer healthcare costs is spent on routine orthopedic on-the-job injuries. These painful injuries can result in 10 or more days missed per employee and drive worker’s compensation and healthcare costs sky high.

For most construction firms, the standard response to any injury, no matter how severe, is to load the injured worker into their car to go to an ER or urgent care center. While the priority after any injury is to seek medical attention, if the symptoms are minor, a trip to the ER is a costly way to provide treatment. Vick points out, “When that person leaves the job site, you still have to wait for them to come back. You may have [an OSHA] recordable event.” This causes productivity to suffer and drives up costs. 

There may be a better way to handle workplace injuries on your construction site, though.

4 Ways Telemedicine Remote Injury Care Helps Construction Companies

Telemedicine has become a very common way to provide routine medical care during the COVID-19 pandemic by using video conferencing technologies. Today you don’t have to travel to your doctor’s office for care. Instead, you can use your favorite digital device to speak directly with an online care provider. Whether you’ve sprained an ankle or are worried about COVID, most medical practices now conduct appointments by using virtual video conferencing tools.

These same tools are being used today by construction firms to bring a clinical care provider directly to an injured worker on their cell phones, instead of automatically sending every injury to the urgent care or emergency room. Telemedicine is now used to treat common orthopedic workplace injuries of the:

  • Ankle
  • Elbow
  • Hand and wrist
  • Hip
  • Knee
  • Lower back
  • Neck
  • Shoulder

Telemedicine triage of an injured worker eliminates treatment delays from sending the worker to the ER, then to a specialist, and then physical therapy for routine musculoskeletal (MSK) injuries. This immediate virtual medical visit cuts many of the high expenses related to medical treatment in the ER. It can also cut down on excessive OSHA recordable events that plague construction firms and drive-up costs.

OrthoLive is the nation’s first orthopedic telemedicine provider. The Remote Injury Care program by OrthoLive offers employers a way to reduce injury costs by up to 80% while providing immediate care. Vick is a strong advocate for the OrthoLive Remote Injury Care program. He says, “The Remote Injury Care program by OrthoLive saves you so much time because you have your employees on-site.”

He points out four primary benefits of using telemedicine remote injury care to provide immediate treatment: 

  1. Remote Injury Care maintains productivity in an organization by saving the time a worker spends going to the hospital, orthopedic specialist, and/or physical therapist. 
  2. Remote Injury Care decreases OSHA reportable events by providing immediate first aid and triage to help the worker and employer determine if a trip to the ER is even necessary.
  3. Remote Injury Care cuts the time spent waiting for care, which cuts the time off work needed to provide care. 
  4. Remote Injury Care improves worker satisfaction by offering an immediate response to a workplace injury.

Telemedicine can also be used to treat chronic MSK pain without surgery by addressing the underlying causes. For example, chronic lower back pain caused by improperly lifting heavy loads, can be helped by retraining the worker to lift properly, wear bracing supports, and through physical therapy designed to strengthen core bodily muscles. 

Vick says the benefits for construction firms go beyond cutting the costs of workplace injury, stating, “You get to speak to a live person, someone who understands your needs.” This live on-demand approach eliminates the frustration of the traditional response of going to the ER for even a simple sprain. He says it is this immediacy of care that creates a better culture for construction workers, “OrthoLive’s staff cares about your workers. It makes a difference to your employees.”

How Can Telemedicine Remote Injury Care Help Your Business?

For construction companies in particular, the benefits of adding telemedicine to their worker safety program impact every level of their injury response in a positive way. OrthoLive Remote Injury Care offers: 

  • Live, immediate treatment for a workplace injury that can cut down on unnecessary ER trips.
  • On-demand coaches, therapists, and orthopedic physicians that design and implement an individualized treatment plan for the injured worker.
  • Injury incident progress tracking and reporting that can further protect the employer from injury lawsuits while improving employee wellness.
  • Live and on-demand health coaching that can help employees be safer while on-the-job.

Vick highly recommends OrthoLive Remote Injury Care to his construction firm clients. But you don’t have to take his word for it; you can click here to read the case study on a national e-commerce retailer who cut workers’ compensation claims in their warehouses by 80% and saved more than $300,000 annually by using OrthoLive Remote Injury Care.