Telemedicine, which uses secure video conferencing to conduct a virtual clinical encounter, has become the go-to tool for primary and specialty providers around the country, but there are unique benefits to treating workplace injuries remotely as well that can save employers time and money while improving employee satisfaction.
The use of telemedicine technology was slowly gaining acceptance in the medical community for decades, but the pandemic has accelerated the adoption of the technology so much that CNBC suggests we’ll see more than one billion telemedicine visits by the end of this year.
Telemedicine has grown so popular that CNN recently declared, “Going to the doctor for routine checkups may be a thing of the past.”
Telemedicine visits for workplace injuries also reduces many company’s workers’ compensation claims by avoiding OSHA recordables. The technology can also bring a remote clinical provider directly to the worker at the point of their injury in your facility or at the jobsite. The implications for convenience, better care, and lowered costs are as innovative as they are exciting.
How Telemedicine Impacts On-Site Injuries to Prevent OSHA Claims
Telemedicine can integrate nicely into the safety protocols for your workforce. The virtual visit can occur with a tool as familiar as a smart phone to instantly triage an injury almost immediately after it happens. The camera and screen of the digital device captures the image of the injury, allowing the nurse or other clinician to determine if it’s a simple sprain or something more serious. There is simply no faster way to triage the seriousness of a back sprain, pulled muscle, cut, or some other injury. Without telemedicine the typical response is for the injured worker and on-site safety offer to leave work to travel to an urgent care or even worse, to a hospital ER.
The problem is that the majority of injuries in a workplace setting are often minor and orthopedic in nature stemming from trips and falls. Each year, employers spend more than $176 billion to treat 77% of the healthcare visits that occur from workplace musculoskeletal injuries. Many of these injuries warrant no further treatment than self-care, but they often end up in the hospital ER as a reportable event simply because the employer doesn’t understand there is another option.
Sending the injured worker to the emergency room for these types of problems is often overkill. The ER is the most expensive point of entry into the healthcare system. Not only is it typical for ER wait times to be high, but during the COVID-19 crisis, it exposes workers to unnecessary risks, especially when hospitals are filling up with possible coronavirus victims.
For the employer, this takes the worker away from the job for a longer period than necessary and it could delay their care, because the typical ER response to minor orthopedic injury is to treat for pain and refer to an orthopedic specialist. These time inefficiencies cost employers more than 216.5 million productive days each year.
The typical health and safety workflow that stems from even the most minor injury inevitably leads to an OSHA reportable event that drives up employer/employee health costs along with workers’ compensation premiums.
Benefits of Telemedicine for Treating Workplace Injuries Remotely
Across the country, more and more companies are leveraging telemedicine to connect their sick or injured workers with a medical provider. The attractiveness of this service for your workforce cannot be discounted; employees appreciate that you are willing to care for them immediately should an injury occur on-the-job. You literally “have their back,” by offering high quality care on-site at your business. In addition to saving you money on workers’ compensation claims and premiums, this is a competitive differentiator for employers eager to recruit more employees to their business.
The reality today is that few companies have an on-site nurse or other healthcare provider to protect their industrial athletes. The best telemedicine platforms can connect you to a healthcare professional 24/7/365, giving you immediate access to a caring, licensed professional that can triage injuries, provide remote treatment, fill prescriptions, and more, all from the video screen of your tablet or cell phone.
There are myriad benefits of treating workplace injuries via telemedicine, including:
- Access to care that comes directly to your worker directly after the injury occurs.
- Rapid, convenient triage of an injury that prevents the time and costs of an unnecessary ER or urgent care trip.
- Physical therapy for the injured worker that comes to them in the workplace to monitor the progress of their rehabilitation.
- Lowered costs, not only by skipping the ER trip, but also because the telemedicine visit is a less costly form of healthcare visit than the visit to the traditional office.
- Improved workers’ compensation claims and accuracy. Telemedicine allows the clinical provider to view the immediate surroundings around the worker that caused the incident to occur. This can provide more accurate details of the incident for OSHA audits in the future.
- Improved recovery times for the injured worker, with less time off work spent traveling to a remote doctor or PT location. Instead, telemedicine brings quality care and caring directly to the worker and your company.
- Improved safety for your workforce. Whether the streets are dark and snowy or there’s a global pandemic requiring quarantine, telemedicine lessens the risk for your teams by bringing healthcare to them and not forcing them to travel unnecessarily to receive care.
Telemedicine for workers’ compensation makes good business sense. OrthoLive Remote Injury Care for employers provides 24/7/365 on-call healthcare to their employees while cutting costs and reducing workers’ compensation claims.
Our network of on-call providers is available through our telemedicine platform designed specifically to tackle those orthopedic injuries that are so common in business today. To find out how, schedule a demo today.
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