2015 Innovation Awards: Riskonnect Inc. and IASIS Healthcare L.L.C.Reprints
Transferring the paper-heavy return-to-work process to an electronic platform that is accessible to all parties involved has helped acute care and managed care provider IASIS Healthcare L.L.C. cut costs and get its injured nurses back on the job faster.
With so many people involved in the return-to-work process, often with conflicting objectives, “many times the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing,” said Tim Davidson, assistant vice president of loss prevention, safety and security at IASIS in Franklin, Tennessee.
While the adjuster might not know how quickly a doctor returns employees to work, the doctor might not know what light-duty options are available for workers, Mr. Davidson said.
So injured workers spend too much time off the job “watching claimants attorney commercials,” Mr. Davidson said.
To streamline the process thus accelerating injured employees' return to work, cutting costs and increasing compliance, the health care provider partnered with Riskonnect Inc., a technology platform provider for the risk management information system industry, to establish Return to Work.
The program, a 2015 Business Insurance Innovation Awards winner, is an active return-to-work program that allows electronic documentation and signatures by users, including physicians, and taps predictive analytics to estimate the time it takes an injured employee to return to their job.
“Injured workers get lost in the (old return-to-work) system,” said Jack Tatum, vice president of global business development for Riskonnect in Kennesaw, Georgia. “You end up with this quagmire of misinformation and misaligned incentives.” With Back@Work, the IASIS name for the project, he added, “everybody is accountable because everybody is seeing each other's activities and ... operating according to the team's goals.”
Using an injured worker's age, comorbidities and information from physicians about the worker's functional capacity, the program provides a list of possible light-duty positions, Mr. Davidson said.
The program launched in Texas, where IASIS has opted out of the state's workers compensation system, and was rolled out in June 2014 to the rest of the company in Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana and Utah.
The electronic program has cut average lost time severity in Texas, and ISASIS had a 39% decrease in total incurred costs in the first year after the program was implemented, Mr. Davidson said.
In addition to cost savings, getting workers back on the job with light-duty work tells them, “Hey, you're part of the team. We need you here, we want you here, and we need to work together to get you well,” Mr. Davidson said.
“If your calling (as a nurse) is to serve other people, and you can't do that anymore, it has an effect on you.”
Once Riskonnect begins marketing the product to other companies in June, Mr. Davidson said “they're going to have more (business) than they can handle.”