Treating workplace injuries is very expensive, and insurers are regularly looking for ways to reduce the costs associated with providing medical benefits to those who are hurt on the job. Recently, Claims Journal reported that some workers’ compensation insurers are considering the use of telemedicine in order to both provide better treatment access to patients as well as to reduce expenditures.
Telemedicine involves patients contacting doctors from remote locations using a standard telephone or Internet telephone contact systems. Doctors can assess patients, and provide treatment advice or even prescribe medications depending upon the symptoms and the circumstances of the patient. While telemedicine could make it easier to get certain types of medical care, it is important to make sure your health is not compromised and that you are able to see a doctor when you need one. An Atlanta workers’ compensation lawyer can help you to ensure that you are getting the medical benefits coverage you deserve after you suffer an injury while doing work tasks.
Telemedicine as a Workers’ Compensation Treatment Solution
The Claims Journal reported on specific situations in which telemedicine may be useful in providing medical treatment to injured workers. One situation is where injured workers are required to go to a second physician other than their treating doctor in order to get an additional opinion on their condition. These second exams are often requested by workers’ comp insurers to get a better picture of how impaired an injured employee is and what level of benefits is appropriate.
Telemedicine could be used to allow injured patients to get their second opinion remotely from specialists familiar with the workers’ comp system who are designated to handle these particular type of exams. This could result in greater conformity among providers of second opinions, reduce the number of disputes over coverage, and increase worker satisfaction with the process of applying for and receiving benefits.
Telemedicine could also benefit workers who are in remote locations and who may need care from specialists who do not live locally. While workers’ comp can sometimes provide payments for transportation to care providers for necessary treatment, this is not always the case and there is not always a provider available who will be able to see a patient who is on workers’ comp for a particular injury. Telemedicine could resolve some of the issues with access to care, provided that the telecommunications infrastructure is available.
Telemedicine may also be able to provide faster non-emergency care to patients, can make nurse triage easier, and can reduce patient travel time to doctors as well as reducing costs to insurers. With most experts projecting a physician shortage, this could become an increasingly popular solution for patients hurt on the job.
However, workers need to know that they are not being forced into telemedicine when they actually need to see a doctor in person. Safeguards must be in place to allow injured employees to get the benefits of telemedicine without compromising quality of care.
The Atlanta work injury lawyers at Sammons & Carpenter, P.C. have extensive experience with workers’ compensation claims. Call today to schedule your free case evaluation if you need help making a workers’ compensation claim.