By Tammy Bradly, senior director of clinical product marketing for Genex Services
Improving the experience of injured employees is a pressing concern in the workers’ compensation industry. A positive experience suggests that the injured employee has a trusting relationship with their treatment team, claims professional and case manager, and is involved in their recovery. But how do we help facilitate that positive experience? Establishing a trusting relationship with the injured employee is essential to improving their experience, but requires long-term thinking, transparency, and honesty. While building trust may not be easy, there are simple and effective ways to achieve it.
Tips for Building Trust
- Honor commitments and follow through on all deliverables within agreed-upon timeframes. Being responsive is equally important and neglecting to respond to calls or failing to follow up as promised can erode credibility and trust. A trustworthy person does everything possible to stick to their commitments and never makes promises they cannot keep. Being upfront and admitting mistakes is better than making excuses.
- Clear communication and active listening are critical components of effective communication and can help avoid misunderstandings that may damage trust. Communication should be clear and leave no room for misinterpretation. When unsure about something during a conversation, ask questions to clarify. Listening is as important as speaking in communication. Listening gives others a chance to speak and show that you care.
- Transparency and explaining what you are doing and why you are doing it can also help build trust.
The Role of Employee Engagement
Engaging injured employees is critical to improving their health outcomes, reducing medical costs, and returning them to optimal function. Disengaged injured employees are more likely to experience poor outcomes and may have negative views of the process. Yet, engaging injured employees effectively can be challenging.
The importance of injured employee engagement cannot be overstated. When involved in their health care decisions, injured employees are more likely to adhere to their treatment plans, have better outcomes and experience greater satisfaction with their care. Engaging injured employees is a critical component of the case management process and requires an investment of time and effort. Techniques like active listening and motivational interviewing allow us to understand all the factors that may impact the injured employee’s recovery, beyond diagnosis and treatment, including mental well-being, availability of support systems, access to healthy food, transportation, housing, and financial status.
Tips for Injured Employee Engagement
- Effective communication is key, and all stakeholders in the workers’ compensation process should focus on building rapport with the injured employee and using plain language when discussing any aspect of the claim. Encouraging injured employees to ask questions and express their concerns is vital.
- Shared decision-making between the healthcare provider(s) and the injured employee is also essential to engage injured employees. Case managers can facilitate this type of discussion to ensure treatment plans consider their unique needs and preferences.
- Injured employee coaching and education are also essential engagement strategies and should be a key component of the case management process. Education should be easy to understand, relevant, and personalized based on the injured employee’s unique background and preferences. Non-judgmental listening and empathetic communication are key components of effective coaching, and education should go beyond the primary diagnosis and include topics like general health and wellness, stress, anxiety management, return-to-work preparation and building resilience.
- Technology can be a powerful tool for injured employee engagement. As an industry, we are seeing more interactive apps in the market, and we should leverage technology to improve engagement. But like health education – tools alone will not necessarily improve engagement. There is a process involved to get the injured employee to “engage” with the technology. Just like engagement through education, having a clinical resource introduce the tool, and follow up on their compliance and feedback is essential.
By implementing top engagement strategies into the claims process, we can enhance the injured employee’s experience, improve outcomes, and reduce medical and indemnity costs. Building trust and engaging the employee with these tips and more are all great ways to deliver better experiences and outcomes.
About Tammy Bradly
Tammy Bradly is senior director of clinical product marketing for Genex Services, a division of Enlyte, where she is responsible for leading the company’s clinical product strategy and growth. Bradly is a certified case manager with more than 25 years of comprehensive industry experience in service delivery, operations management, and product development. She holds several national certifications, including certified case manager (CCM), certified rehabilitation counselor (CRC) and certified program disability manager (CPDM). Bradly has authored numerous industry articles/whitepapers and spoken at both regional and national conferences on topics such as the aging workforce, pain management, return-to-work, case management, telemedicine, and crisis intervention.
Headquartered in San Diego, Calif., Enlyte (www.enlyte.com) is the parent brand of Mitchell, Genex and Coventry, leaders in cost-containment technology, independent medical exams (IME), provider and specialty networks, case management services, pharmacy benefit and disability management. The Enlyte businesses align their joint industry expertise and advanced technology solutions in a combined organization of nearly 6,000 associates committed to simplifying and optimizing property, casualty and disability claims processes and services.
“Social Determinants of Health: What You Need to Know” by U.S (United States). Department of Health and Human Services (2021)
“Motivational Interviewing: A Tool for Behavior Change” by William R. Miller and Stephen Rollnick, published in American Family Physician (2013)
“Effective Communication with Patients” by Kathy Malloch
Enlyte is a WorkCompWire ad partner.
This is NOT a paid placement.