I continue to be encouraged by the resilience of our industry.
In just a few years, we’ve experienced a pandemic, a tremendous shift in workforce dynamics that have not only influenced labor pools but have also directly impacted talent at workers’ comp organizations, and now, record inflation. But as an industry we remain healthy and stable, and conversations with industry colleagues and clients – as well as our structured industry research – reveal that many have their eyes on priorities that not only solve today’s challenges, but keep their eyes on future opportunities and where the industry is headed.
These insights continue to drive the content we publish in RxInformer, and it is my hope you find the articles in this issue to be timely and educational.
First, we continue our series on the Social Determinants of Health with two new entries.
Hard Times: How Economic Stability Can Impact Injured Worker Outcomes explores the role that economic stability can have on individual health outcomes, and the complexity this can bring to workers’ comp claims. Unemployment, poverty, low-quality housing, and food insecurity can all be detrimental to a person’s health, contributing to comorbidities, mental health concerns, and more.
Meanwhile, a history of substance abuse – whether illicit drugs, alcohol, or tobacco use – play out negatively in claims and in health outcomes in a number of ways. The Triple Threat of Tobacco Use on Employer, Clinical, and Medication Complexity specifically looks at tobacco use as a complicating factor in the workplace and as a detractor from injured worker outcomes.
Another evolving area in workers’ comp is the pharmacy landscape. Things Change: The Growing Diversity of Pharmacy Cost Drivers dives into how opioids are no longer a consolidated driver of pharmacy costs in workers’ comp. Instead our industry faces a growing diversity of smaller, more niche trends that require more strategic formulary and clinical management trend management across different populations and geographies.
On the ancillary services side of claims management, supply chain shortages and workforce attrition in the healthcare sector have had impacts on the delivery of diagnostic services. But as a service that often sets the course of a claim, appropriate management of these services remains crucial. Diagnostics as a Defining Touchpoint in the Claims Journey looks at how the quality, timing, and availability of diagnostic services can set the course of an injured worker’s treatment plan and recovery.
And finally, Coming Up Short? IT Talent Woes in Workers’ Comp addresses the global shortage of IT talent, how this problem was exacerbated by the pandemic, and the impact to the workers’ comp industry. This article also explores the growing demand for automation, in hopes of easing the talent gap.
I hope you find this edition of RxInformer to be a strategic resource as you consider the opportunities and challenges – both old and new - facing your workers’ comp program.