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 how communication and direct management play a large role 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 will make the appropriate appointments and treatment pathway for the patient. However, increasingly it’s becoming important for these appointments and treatments to be shared amongst the different health care workers to improve the outcomes for the worker.
And here comes the aeroplane…
In today’s world, with sensitive patient information, how do practitioners share this information and also receive remuneration for delivering this treatment approach? Traditionally it has taken more time. Will technology enable health providers to provide this service efficiently or will the renumeration model change in Australia?
Integrated models currently happen in isolation, with some clinics offering a suite of services under one roof. The big push will come with e-health records and a system that rewards outcomes rather than visits.
I personally welcome this shift, but it won’t be without its challenges.
*MSD Symposium – 2017 – Workcover Queensland