Workers’ compensation providers are increasingly being asked to embrace new technologies in order to maintain standards of patient care in unpredictable times, and to leave outdated business models behind.

The pandemic has forced a shift to digital practices in every industry, and workers’ compensation healthcare is no different. With health systems posting massive losses, patients staying home, and health plans looking for opportunities to drive down costs while supporting their members, digital health solutions have never made more sense. While the pandemic has expedited technological changes for so many, there was already an underlying need for the healthcare industry to look to the future in adopting new digital practices.

When it comes to workers’ compensation, many injured workers are not getting access to physical medicine they need, as rehabilitation providers are forced to limit services or close their doors. High unemployment will presumably affect the number of workers’ compensation claims, but an increase in compensable pandemic-related claims (like virus-related exposures and healthcare worker overtime) is also expected at a higher rate than what the industry may be equipped to handle. 

Both payors and providers are managing day-to-day, but require a long-term plan to address the growing needs of injured workers. Even when social distancing requirements are lifted, healthcare providers should anticipate a flood of patients seeking physical treatment– and they’ll need digital processes in place to expedite care and claims management.

Needed Changes Are Long Overdue In Care and Claims Management

A 2020 Mitchell Work Comp survey of 100 workers’ comp providers revealed almost 50 percent of respondents said cost containment is the driving factor for adopting advanced technologies, while 29 percent said they expect advanced technology will become the primary means of improving medical outcomes in the processing of workers’ compensation claims. 

The healthcare industry has seen a rapid advancement of technology, evolving customer expectations and ongoing debate over the expense of care. One thing that has become glaringly apparent for practitioners is the urgent need to adopt emerging technological advancements such as telemedicine, wearables for claimant monitoring and AI/predictive data analytics to increase efficiency in operations and claims management. These advancements have become practical requirements for the continuity of and access to care, especially when service delivery has been critically stressed for so many. 

Workers’ compensation providers, and the industry as a whole, must be prepared for the next level of service delivery as it relates to e-visits, claims processing and payments. Anticipating the need to transform the business-as-usual approach, we can improve the industry by introducing technologies that have reshaped other sectors for the better, such as marketplace technology that allows supply and demand economics to drive pricing, while speeding up the delivery of care and claims management processes for all involved.

We must support providers, payors and injured worker claimants as they all adjust to the “new normal” of virtual care and telehealth practices. Introducing a marketplace procurement model eases that burden by providing access to automated billing, payments and scheduling– streamlining claims processes and keeping providers engaged with new patients, so they can focus on providing care when it’s needed most.

Click here to learn more about the marketplace efficiencies THM is bringing to healthcare to reduce costs for payors, increase business opportunities for providers and improve the level of care to injured workers.