During our time at RIMS 2015, we had Workers’ Comp industry stakeholders participate in WorkCompWire’s “RIMS Review” series, focused on what to look for this year and in the future! Here’s what Ron Vianu, CEO and Cofounder of Spreemo had to say:
What do you believe will be the most significant development in the Worker’s Comp industry in 2015?
I think there are a lot of meaningful developments on the horizon, including efforts by various employers and states to “opt out” from the Workers’ Comp system. In our world though, the most significant developments involve organizations that are starting to view medical management from a different perspective. Historically, most efforts to combat increasing costs involved discounted networks and fee schedule reductions. I believe we are now aware that not only has this been ineffective, but that costs are increasing in the face of such measures. The paradigm shift is toward an understanding that medical services are not a commodity and that paying more upfront for the right level of care may drive better outcomes, lower long-term costs and get patients back to work sooner. This boils the issue down to a pursuit of value, which can only be understood by having full transparency of both price and quality.
What is the top challenge you and your organization are currently working on this year?
For us, the challenge remains the same year after year: “How do we stay innovative and build upon last year’s success?” A few years ago we understood the need for quality and we were arguably thought leaders in that space. Today, we fully understand that the finish line is not about one medical discipline or reducing costs across one service type, but about bringing all these disparate pieces together to provide patients the best care from injury to resolution. Achieving that is one of the most complicated problems our entire healthcare system is tasked with solving. The challenge for us as Workers’ Comp professionals is realizing that each of us will one day be a patient, like it or not, and we have to anticipate what our needs will be in order to successfully navigate the healthcare system.
Looking out 5 years, beyond obvious trends, what do you think one big change in the Workers’ Comp industry will be?
Workers’ Comp represents the tiniest of slivers in the overall healthcare market and as a result people often view our system as either followers or almost irrelevant in the big picture. I think in five years people will recognize that the industry leaders in Workers’ Comp drove a transformation of the entire healthcare system. I’m not being idealistic. Workers’ Comp payers spend $30-35 billion every year in medical services and, in most venues, can direct how that money is being spent. If leveraged correctly, that spend can be one of the most powerful change agents that we have seen in our healthcare system over the last decade or into the next.
What is one thing you’d like to promote?
Time and time again, I hear a lot of “you guys are trying to change the status quo and that won’t work.” I actually had an argument with one industry insider who claimed that trying to improve patient care and build a sustainable business are ideas that are contradictory in the Workers’ Comp space. I could use this opportunity to promote Spreemo, but I’d rather promote the idea that if we work together as an industry comprised of a ton of incredibly smart and driven professionals, we can really improve the way health care is delivered resulting in healthier patients who can return to their normal lives after an injury, all of which will reduce costs and improve the entire industry. This is not fantasy and we work every day to try to achieve this.