Telehealth Redefining Worker’s Comp
The costs of compensating injured workers (“worker’s comp”) are often high for employers. People who are injured on the job, especially in rural areas, do not always have access to a medical provider to obtain treatment. As a result, employers have begun to implement telehealth efforts in order to receive faster treatment for their employees, and lower the costs associated with such injuries.
States such as Nevada and Oklahoma, which have many rural communities, reported high costs relating to worker’s comp when their workers had to travel long distances to seek medical attention. According to Nevada rules, employees who are injured can be reimbursed for:
“out-of-pocket expenses for meals, lodging, and actual mileage related to an authorized medical examination, reasonable and necessary medical treatment, vocational rehabilitation or vocational retraining which requires travel in excess of 20 miles round-trip to and from the injured employee’s home to the location of such services.”
As such, their regulations have started to include telemedicine as part of the treatment process, often times removing the need to travel.
+ Workers experience decreased hospitalizations from their injuries
+ Wait times are reduced when a worker needs to consult with a specialist
+ Return-to-work rates are increased
Physicians have been advocating for telemedicine use as well; they feel that they can provide a high quality experience for the patient since they have real-time access to biological markers, such as the patient’s blood sugar levels, EKGs, pulmonary function, etc. Telemedicine also allows for a competitive advantage among providers who wish to see more patients. Meanwhile, on the patient side, a greater selection of providers could yield lower prices for their employers and insurance companies, making for a healthier, happier workforce.