The workers’ compensation system may soon utilize telemedicine, which is the process of doctors engaging with patients over video monitors and web cameras. Telemedicine allows doctors to deliver medical care and information without actually being present. A recent study by the Texas Department of Insurance Workers’ Compensation Research Division found that telemedicine could benefit the workers’ comp system in two ways.
First, injured workers may have an easier time gaining access to a second medical opinion, as they could choose from a greater pool of doctors. Second, injured workers
living in rural or remote areas would have an easier time gaining access to doctors and other health care professionals.
Additionally, it was found telemedicine could allow for less complex claims and may be able to reduce wait times on claims.
What Are The Drawbacks Of Using Telemedicine For The Workers’ Comp System?
Unfortunately, telemedicine does have drawbacks. Injured workers may find a lack of face-to-face care uncomfortable. It will also be more difficult to use diagnostic tests to confirm or deny specific diagnoses associated with injuries.
Telemedicine works better for low hazard industries that have less severe work injuries. High hazard industries can have severe injuries, and it would make telemedicine much more difficult if not impossible. Some injuries are too severe to benefit from telemedicine and may require emergency treatment.
While not perfect, some injured workers might be able to benefit from meeting with health care professionals over the internet. In Ohio, injured workers can pick any doctor of their choosing, so long as they are a Bureau of Workers’ Compensation certified provider. Telemedicine may one day be able to provide injured Ohio workers with more choices when seeking out health care professionals.
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– Columbus Workers’ Comp Attorney