From a recent Queensland conference it was clear that early Allied health intervention to injured workers makes a difference. Of course we know that, and have known that for some time, what was also interesting was the clear role that communication and direct management play in improving outcomes.
In Queensland last financial year, 47% of Workcover claims were attributed to Musculoskeletal disorders (MSD). Most of these claims were dealt with the traditional approach of non-coordinated health care. Injured workers were bounced around individual practitioners, each delivering their own return to work (RTW) interventions with the best intentions. As an employer, knowledge of your provider network and the way they operate is a vital piece of the return to work pie.
It is clear after a recent trip to the States that these models need to change. We know early intervention improves outcomes, but so does coordinated care and more importantly integrated care, and there is a big difference!
Coordinated care has been around for a while, similar to the Chronic Disease management (CDM) model, where a health care worker or OHS manager will make the appropriate appointments and treatment pathway for the patient. However, increasingly its becoming important for these appointments and treatments to be shared amongst the different health care workers to improve the outcomes for the worker. Some employers will take injured workers to offsite appointments to ensure effective communication and record of treatments are kept, this is the employer reaching for an integrated approach.
If you would like to develop your own local provider network, your first step is to make a lunch meeting with your local GP medical centre. It usually takes 2 months to get in and see them, so BOOK NOW. It is also best if you walk in to the surgery and explain who you are, make the meeting in front of them, they usually wont let you book from the phone.
Then ask 3 questions:
1. How may Doctors will be attending?
2. Does your GPs treat Workcover clients?
3. Do any of the GPs have any special dietary requirements?
You will need to provide lunch, roughly $10/doctor and you would be surprised the requests for a Doctors lunch, KFC, Hamburgers, Chips etc etc
When you have the meeting, be confidant and explain you are here to develop a local Provider network, to improve the outcomes of workplace incidents. Explain your history of injuries onsite, EG: Type, location, first aid treatments, typical medical treatments and take some copies of some suitable duties to show that all workers will return to work in a safe environment.
Some other questions:
Do you have a Chronic disease management nurse?
Who are the Physios and Exercise Physiologists you use for Return to Work?
Are they an integrated team?
Would any of the GPs like to come out for a site tour?
Integration is gold standard, but not everyone has this luxury. Offsite integrated models currently happen in isolation, with some clinics offering a suite of services under one roof. Having an onsite clinic as an employer is the gold standard in managing illness and injury in the workplace. If you have an onsite clinic, demand that they are providing you with a suite of Allied health interventions such as Dietetics, Podiatry, Physiotherapy and Psychology.
If you would like to discuss any of these points please email us or call on the contact page.
Yours in health,
Safe & Healthy