There is a light at the end of the tunnel.
The U.S. has administered approximately 200 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines so far and is currently averaging over 2 million vaccine doses a day. After one of the most difficult years in recent history, there is hope that all of our efforts will help push us past this pandemic.
This last year has taught us just what we are capable of when we come together. As an organization and as an industry, we were able to quickly move beyond business as usual to address seemingly insurmountable challenges. And as we continue to transition to a post-COVID world, I for one will look back at how we overcame those challenges as inspiration for how we will continue to innovate the industry moving forward.
As the direct threat of the pandemic is addressed, the workers’ comp industry has the opportunity to focus on long-standing issues with a fresh perspective. There are many other challenges within the healthcare system, and I believe we can apply the same thinking and the same energy that we used during this pandemic.
Already mentalities are shifting – regulators spent all of 2020 focused on crisis management, and now they are moving on to address issues that were put on hold. Another area where we have seen shifts in priorities is among workers’ comp stakeholders themselves.
In the fall of 2020, Healthesystems conducted its third annual Workers’ Compensation Industry Insights Survey in collaboration with Risk & Insurance® magazine. Over 600 industry professionals shared their thoughts on top industry challenges, trends, and disruptors.
COVID-19 was predictably the top disruptor – and many of the findings made it clear how in some ways, things have changed forever due to the pandemic. But other findings demonstrated how the industry is once more focused on pre-pandemic issues.
We took these industry insights from our survey to help us guide the direction of this issue of RxInformer, highlighting the trends which workers’ comp stakeholders prioritized highly, while also elaborating further on these trends, offering glimpses into what a brighter tomorrow could look like.
Remote work was a large trend – 53% of survey respondents reported switching to a remote workforce. Many of us have grown used to Zoom, Teams, and other virtual platforms. But did you know that the increased isolation from working from home – in addition to a wide range of pandemic-related stressors – is also contributing to mental health concerns for some employees? The article Home Alone: The Mental Health Impact of Working from Home explores this topic, along with mitigation strategies employers can utilize.
Another trend prevalent in the survey was an increase in telemedicine – 58% of respondents reported an increased use of telemedicine. COVID-19 made this necessary as we all tried to stay at home to stop the spread, and legislatures relaxed restrictions to embrace telemedicine. Making Telemedicine Work for Workers’ Comp focuses on the many applications for telemedicine in workers’ comp, ranging from triage and initial visits, to physician visits, physical medicine, mental health or behavioral therapy, case management, and medication counseling.
When it came to barriers to recovery, the number one factor – as ranked by 50% of survey respondents – was injured workers’ unfamiliarity with navigating the workers’ comp system. Empowering the Patient as a Mitigator of Claims Complexity explores the complications patients encounter when trying to manage their claim – which can start as early as the intake process – as well as potential solutions.
Our survey also examined the communication barriers between workers’ comp stakeholders. 61% of respondents found that communication channels did not align across stakeholders, while 43% of respondents found that stakeholders weren’t even communicating in the first place. Issues like these are what lead to misaligned perceptions between different stakeholder experiences – most frequently between the injured worker and those managing their care. We explore this in Uncommon Ground, an infographic that illustrates these misalignments.
I sincerely hope that you find these articles inspiring and thought-provoking. Our goal is to not only to educate and spread awareness, but to also spur change and promote innovation.
We have come a long way over the past year, and now we look forward to what tomorrow can be as we work together toward common goals.
Daryl Corr is Chief Executive Officer at Healthesystems. Mr. Corr has long been a technology innovator developing new ways in which to improve the delivery and quality of medical services. His focus on innovation has helped improve performance across the industry by automating various manual functions and improving transaction efficiency. His efforts to make disparate processes and systems work together helped transform the organizations he managed. Under Mr. Corr’s leadership, Healthesystems has grown into one of the largest workers’ compensation pharmacy and ancillary medical benefits management providers in the market.