Patient-centered care is much more than just patient satisfaction. It can drive better outcomes in the workers’ compensation industry. In this session at WCI’s 2019 Educational Conference, panelists explored how payers, employers and providers can utilize practical strategies to leverage this trend in today’s complex healthcare environment.
Moderator: Mary O’ Donoghue – Chief Clinical Officer at MedRisk
- David Deitz, MD – David Deitz and Associates
- Johnathan Nutt – Head of Medical Management Services at AIG
- Michael Murphy – Director, Corporate Risk Management at Kennametal Inc
- Jean Feldman – Director of Managed Care, Workers’ Compensation Claims at Sentry Insurance
There are many elements of patient-centric care that can have an impact on recovery, costs and litigation. This type of care is really a partnership between all concerned parties and ensures that patient values guide all clinical decisions. There are definitely some barriers to providing patient-centric care, including the large number of people involved, poor communication and important factors like lifestyle and support system that are often missed. Many times, the workers’ compensation environment can be adversarial and litigious. We need to move toward taking a holistic approach to workplace injuries and taking psychosocial barriers into consideration.
There are a lot of opportunities to address barriers. Ensuring that all parties understand the patient’s needs and preferences is a good first step. It is also valuable to educate the patient. Educated patients are more highly engaged, more compliant and experience higher levels of satisfaction while utilizing fewer medical resources.
Technology can both help and hinder efforts to provide patient-centric care. Mobile platforms enable self-monitoring. Augmented reality and gamification of treatments address the wants and needs of younger generations. Consumer expectations drive providers and payers, so we have to adapt our care to new technologies that can connect patients, providers and payers.
On the other hand, technology comes with its own set of challenges. Electronic health records and data can cause difficulty. Patients feel doctors are interacting with the computer rather than paying attention to their conversations. It is important not to lose the empathy and compassion of the in-person connection.
When an employee is injured, they want to be treated fairly, get quality health care and have an idea of how the process will work. These needs can easily be met with support and communication. Open communication between the claim adjuster, the injured employee, the employer and medical providers should be ongoing throughout the life of the claim. Positive interactions by claim examiners and nurse case managers make a big difference. Another way to impact the claim is to find out what tools your key vendor partners can bring to the table to assist in management with the injured worker.
Workers’ compensation has, historically, been slower to adapt to changes than the greater healthcare industry. Our industry will not be able to meet consumer expectations for patient-centric care without utilizing new technologies and processes.