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Employer Communication: Keeping All Key Constituents Informed Every Step of the Way

Eric Becker

Communication is a key fundamental to consider when implementing a successful occupational medicine program for your organization. Not only is it essential to communicate internally with your employees on the logistics of your program, but it’s also important to communicate externally with the treating clinician and your insurance payor. As such, regular check-ins and updates throughout a program will help to keep all parties updated with the latest details.

Open Communication with Clinicians

Effective case management requires easy access and open communication between the treating clinician and the appropriate employer representative.  In many cases, time spent on the phone or sorting through e-mail trying to get a simple status update for one of your employees is time that could have been spent on workplace tasks. By having a workers’ compensation provider that can provide multiple services under one roof means the reports and updates you need to manage your resources is just a phone call away, opposed to multiple locations or multiple clinicians.

In a successful return-to-work program there needs to be a consistent stream of communication between employer and clinician. The clinician should communicate with an employer throughout the entire return-to-work process, providing updates and treatment plan details. Frequent communication also helps ease any concerns about prognosis or case progression that are common in the return-to-wok process. Having direct clinician access and critical return-to-work data helps to improve the overall workers’ compensation program.  If an injury trend starts to develop, the employer and clinician can work together and elect the best treatment for that specific injury or even come up with possible ways to prevent that injury from occurring again in the future.

Real-time Reporting

Aligning reports and information to best suit your needs is a necessity in your return-to-work program. The best occupational medicine programs should provide employers with web-based or secure e-mail status reports, which can be viewed at times of your choosing. These reports should also provide consistent data points to monitor trends, as well as easy access to clinicians to explain those data points. As an employer, you should determine what reports you want and at what intervals make the most sense.

Verbal and electronic communication will help you coordinate cases so that all parties-employees, employers and payors-can manage cases seamlessly. This type of timely access to information also helps increase workforce productivity.

Keeping everyone in the loop

The workers’ compensation industry is complex and can be confusing at times. There are a lot of moving parts and you need to implement a plan that simplifies the process for you. You need a plan that is going to keep all key constituents informed throughout the process, to the extent allowed by the law1.

Employers should receive timely updates throughout each step of the injury care process. Information on patient status and return-to-work progression also needs to be shared with managers or supervisors and any third-party payor to complete an efficient claims management process. All information approved for release, either by regulatory guidelines or by patient authorization, should be provided to the appropriate receiver in a consistent and timely fashion. By ensuring these elements are part of your occupational medicine program from the start, with proper check-in and timely update intervals, you can trust that all parties are engaged, informed and updated throughout the process. With some early planning, proper communication, and supportive information, staying engaged in the process can be one less problem to worry over.

*Many states have laws regulating the manner and extent of communication regarding patient care.  Concentra strives to provide the fullest communication under applicable laws to maximize employer information while protecting patients’ rights.  The communications as described throughout this document may be altered to adhere to these laws.