By Michelle Despres, PT, CEAS II, CETS, National Product Leader for Physical Therapy, One Call
Patient-centric – it is a topic we love to talk about in this industry. We want to do everything in our power to set injured workers up for success. What can we do to provide the most holistic care? What systems can we put in place to ensure we’re engaging as soon as possible following an injury? How can we make sure all of this results in the most prompt return-to-work and best quality of life?
We see the same injuries over and over again. Strained backs and torn shoulders are every day occurrences due to overexertion. In fact, nearly half of all injured workers who receive our physical therapy services suffer from shoulder, lower back and knee injuries1. Shoulder injuries, such as a rotator cuff tear, often result in surgery, leading to injured workers being out of work even longer.
If we want to be truly patient-centric, we need to work harder to prevent these common workplace injuries from happening in the first place.
The solution is simple: prevention + prediction = prosper.
Prevention – Post Offer Employment Testing (POET)
POET is a cost-effective physical assessment that ensures prospective employees are physically capable of performing a job prior to being hired. The assessment may include measuring their ability to lift, kneel, bend, reach and climb; however, each test is based on the specific tasks required of the job.
This program works. When incorporating into the hiring process, it can decrease injuries by 50-79% and reduce injury severity2.
In fact, we’ve seen great results from a large energy company who launched POET in 2017. Since inception, more than 600 prospective employees have been tested, resulting in screening out 1.7% of the employment pool. This has led to an impressive outcome – zero injuries have been sustained to-date from the employees who passed the screening and were approved for hire3.
We also partnered with a large trucking company to implement the program. Over the course of a year, more than 500 prospective employees were tested and 14.6% were removed from the hiring pool, thus eliminating potentially risky hires for this employer4.
By incorporating preventative measures into your hiring process, you can help set up employees for success and prevent others from being placed in a job that puts them at an increased risk of injury.
Prediction – Predictive Analytics
Early intervention is the next best thing to prevention. Even with the most robust preventative measures in place, workplace injuries still occur. That’s why it’s important to have a safeguard in place to keep injured workers on the quickest road to recovery.
Predictive analytics is an effective safeguarding tool used to review claims data. Specific algorithms are established to find patterns, issues or targets in the data sets, and ultimately, gain insights into specific injured worker populations. These insights help provide clarity on how to change or improve the clinical pathways of injured workers moving forward.
Once again, the numbers don’t lie. We worked to implement the program with a national employer and began reviewing injured worker claims data based on multiple claim characteristics. We identified potential at-risk injured workers and then collaboratively delivered alternative intervention strategies.
After implementation of the program, injured workers who met at-risk eligibility criteria required 25% fewer physical therapy appointments than similar injured workers prior to program implementation. In addition, their overall duration of care was reduced by 23%5.
By taking the time to implement a few key programs up-front, you can help to prevent workplace injuries and predict potential injury severity. In doing so, you will create a healthy, safe and productive work environment that will enable workers to prosper.
Now that’s a true patient-centric approach.
1One Call 2019 national data.
2Back School of Atlanta.
3One Call client data 2017-2019.
4One Call client data. The screening referenced above reflects criteria based solely on the essential requirements for the affected positions and does not denote exclusions based upon disabilities or other status.
5One Call client data 2017-2018. Pre-program outcomes adjusted to account for state and injury mix of post-implementation at-risk population.
About Michelle Despres
Michelle is a leader within the world of physical therapy discussing everything from virtual physical therapy to physical therapy as an opioid alternative. She encourages injured workers to be independent and take an active role in their recovery with the help of innovations in physical therapy. Michelle mentors clinicians to improve delivery of treatments and services and return-to-work results.
About One Call
As the nation’s leader in specialty network management services for the workers’ compensation industry, we place injured workers at the heart of everything we do. We utilize creative and innovative solutions to timely and efficiently connect injured workers with quality provider networks across a multitude of health care services. Our foundation is built on an unwavering commitment to deliver exceptional service and unparalleled clinical expertise to drive outcomes. For more information and the latest news, visit us at onecallcm.com, LinkedIn (One Call) and Twitter (@onecallcm).
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This is NOT a paid placement.