By Jarrod Magan, VP Client Technology Services, Sedgwick
It’s hard to remember a time without mobile phones, ubiquitous internet connectivity, or online banking. These technology advancements revolutionized the way we live. Soon, it will be difficult to remember a time when mobile apps, telemedicine and artificial intelligence were not a part of the workers’ compensation claims process. And, it’s not hard to imagine that there are many more technologies to come.
In last week’s posting, we explored some of the technologies that have been introduced or will soon be introduced and examined their impact on the claims industry today. This week we will look further out and talk about some of the technologies and applications under development and project how they could impact the industry in the years to come.
Among the claims areas expected to be impacted are:
Advocacy: Telephonic advocacy outreach will be replaced with video telepresence and allow for more personable and empathetic interactions.
Case management: Telehealth solutions, the delivery of health-related services and information by use of telecommunications systems, will more comprehensively support nurse case management and clinical triage. Telehealth will largely eliminate both the need and cost for field case management, adding more efficiency to the system.
Claims explanation: The claims process can be complex and requires extensive communications around such matters as reporting requirements, waiting periods, and indemnity benefits. Paper and electronic correspondence containing lengthy, written explanations will be replaced by online video platforms where claim concepts can be clearly demonstrated and explained. Personal avatars, virtual assistants and chat capabilities will also increase in popularity and support more holistically the advocacy of the person.
Doctors’ appointments: Telemedicine, the use of technology to provide clinical health care remotely, will become widely used making waiting rooms and doctors’ appointments, in many instances, relics of the past. Remote patient monitoring techniques will be deployed to ensure patients are recovering at an appropriate pace as expected and provide claims professionals and providers with real-time feedback to intervene as needed.
Employee engagement: Gamification of the claims experience through self-service applications will encourage and empower employees to take a more active role in their recovery and return to work. Additionally, techniques such as automated empathy have the opportunity to automate the experience by motivating the employee through familiar, text-like interaction. These technologies will be driven by artificial intelligence rooted in behavioral patterns and have the added benefit of reducing the workload of busy claims professionals. This could result in happier and more productive workers and lower claims costs for employers.
Health and wellness: With the rise in wearable devices and connected health initiatives, application programming interfaces (APIs) will begin to be integrated into mobile self-service tools to support injured workers within the workers’ compensation system. Information recorded by these devices can be available to and assessed by the injured employee, physician, nurse and claims examiner. Recommendations for treatment and recovery can be tailored to the individual based on the injury, activity, and any pre-existing conditions of the injured worker. Wearable tech devices can greatly assist injured workers in those instances where physical activity is recommended as a part of the recovery process.
Health records: As more physicians move to electronic health records, a rise in the use of portable personal health records is expected. These records will integrate workers’ compensation, disability, and leave information with other health information, forming more comprehensive insight into population health. The result will be a more complete picture of a person’s health.
Injury recovery: As more sensors are embedded into everyday items such as clothing, shoes, and hats, the Internet of Things will provide increasingly new ways to monitor activity, recovery and appointment progress for employees off of work. More readily available information can be expected to facilitate guidance and injury recovery.
Prescriptive analytics: Embedded document images, voice and video mining capabilities used in predictive analytics initiatives can provide greater insight into actions needed to produce the best result for an injured worker and take that important next step of actually prescribing the intervention required.
Prescriptions: First fill pharmacy cards will become part of a person’s digital wallet, thereby increasing convenience and satisfaction for workers’ compensation patients needing prescription drugs. Similar to physical cards currently in use, these smartphone-enabled solutions can be presented to a participating network pharmacy and the prescription can be filled at no cost to the injured worker. Additionally, the use of digital medicines monitored via smartphone may provide even more ability to administer medicine in a remote capacity.
Recorded statements: Telepresence will impact the way recorded statements are obtained. Communication effectiveness will be increased significantly as video will reveal facial expressions and hand gestures during such statements.
Replacement: For injured employees requiring surgery for knee, hip, or possibly even skin replacement, 3-dimensional (3D) scanners and printers could provide a more personalized approach and a faster recovery process than current practices. These 3D printers also could revolutionize the liability claims industry as well. For damage to vehicles in automobile accidents, 3D printing provides lower cost alternatives to original equipment manufacturer (OEM) or after-market replacement parts. Eventually, 3D printed cars may replace damaged or high-cost vehicles on the fleet.
Self-service tools: Artificial intelligence platforms will provide real-time, just-in-time insights based on a wealth of information and allow actionable detail to be delivered in self-service tools automatically.
Settlement packages: Drones may one day be used to transport settlement packages or other time-sensitive correspondence and information.
Surveillance: Drones will be also used to survey and assess damage and destruction associated with catastrophic losses arising from hurricanes, floods, or tornadoes.
Training: Safety programs will captivate the attention of workers as they are delivered using virtual, augmented, or mixed reality techniques. Actively used by many sports leagues, these technologies provide a lower cost, more immersive way to provide training. Additionally, augmented and mixed reality can be used in areas such as construction and manufacturing sites to supplement the experience with known hazards and obstacles.
Transportation: As the self-service economy continues to expand and more individuals participate, there will be alternative means for injured employees to be transported to the doctor’s office. Cumbersome mileage tracking associated with personal vehicles and expensive taxis will become a thing of the past as patients and payers opt for more convenient and economical modes of transportation.
The claims industry of tomorrow will look very different than it does today. Many of the technologies currently being developed or those yet to be thought of will have a notable impact on the claims processes and tools as we know them. However, at the center of all these advancements remains one constant – the injured employee. Those technologies making a lasting impact will be those designed to improve and enhance the overall employee experience associated with the unanticipated and unfortunate workplace event. Ironically, it is the technology of the future that is expected to aid recovery, streamline processes, and leave a warm impression on those working their way through this system that we call workers’ compensation.
About Jarrod Magan
Mr. Magan is Vice President of Client Technology Services for Sedgwick. In this role, Jarrod manages client system setup and client application use. Jarrod also has responsibility for the strategic direction of Sedgwick’s viaOne® suite of applications, which is Sedgwick’s client-facing application.
Jarrod joined Sedgwick in 2000 as a liability claims examiner in the Charlotte, North Carolina, office. Jarrod moved into Sedgwick’s system training group in 2001 in Memphis, Tennessee, and then served as a client technology project manager beginning in 2002. Jarrod’s primary responsibilities in this role were new client implementations and data conversions. Beginning in 2004, Jarrod managed Sedgwick’s Enterprise Reporting group, which also consisted of the data
warehouse application and its supporting colleagues. In 2006, Jarrod was named manager of the client technology implementations department, which consisted of Sedgwick’s client technology project managers. In 2008, Jarrod was named senior product manager of Sedgwick’s client-facing viaOne suite of applications. In 2010, Jarrod moved into a client-facing role as an account executive responsible for all aspects of client programs. Jarrod served a dual role in 2011 as he retained the account executive responsibilities in addition to leading decision system support.
Jarrod has a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
Sedgwick Claims Management Services, Inc. is the leading global provider of technology-enabled claims and productivity management solutions. Sedgwick and its affiliated companies deliver cost-effective claims, productivity, managed care, risk consulting and other services to clients through the expertise of 13,000 colleagues in some 275 offices located in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. The company specializes in workers’ compensation; disability, FMLA and other employee absence; managed care; general, automobile and professional liability; property loss adjusting; warranty and credit card claims services; fraud and investigation; structured settlements; Medicare compliance solutions; and forensic investigations. Sedgwick and its affiliates design and implement customized programs based on proven practices and advanced technology that exceed client expectations. Sedgwick’s majority shareholder is KKR; Stone Point Capital LLC and other management investors are minority shareholders. For more, see www.sedgwick.com.