The California Coalition on Workers’ Compensation (CCWC) 2019 conference was held in Anaheim last month, and one of the big takeaways this year was the increasing impact advancements in technology are having on the workers compensation claim process.
In this article our Orange County workers compensation attorneys explain some of these technological advancements – and what they mean for our clients’ workers compensation claims.
Authenticating Workers Compensation Documents
Acuity AI is a subscription-based software company based in California that offers artificial intelligence technology to enable product discovery and commerce directly from video. Acuity offers a comprehensive records retrieval and records management service based on blockchain technology, and claims that their technology offers complete transparency, virtually guaranteeing that their documentation is authentic.
Any attempt to edit, delete or change a record, or even a part of the record, immediately flags the attempt and notifies the user. The system also guards against duplication through a centralized repository, where a number of litigants can have access to the same authenticated records.
Snooping on Workers Compensation Claimants Social Media
Social Detection, a Philadelphia-based company, offers its customers the ability to dig into social media posts and other internet sources of information. Their service allows users to get a far more comprehensive view of a claimant’s internet activity – even if the claimant uses an alias or tries to mask his or her identity. They will also be looking for evidence of activities that contradict a worker’s claim that he or she is disabled and unable to work.
Automated Injury Reporting for Workers Compensation Employees
Previously, there was no consistency in how an injury was reported – not only in terms of how the injury was described, but also in terms of whom and what to report. Compounding the inconsistencies were such things as penmanship and employee literacy issues.
Automated injury reporting technology improves workers compensation incident reporting rate and quality. Forms containing employee data could be at least partially pre-filled with automated forms, and reports could be connected to the file which would vastly simplify the process. Additionally, incident reports could be filed in a number of ways, including through a mobile app or an 800 number. Once submitted, the injury reports would be sent automatically to all necessary parties, including, as applicable, the supervisor, safety officer, the human resources department, the insurer and whatever department that triages cases to determine what care is necessary or appropriate.
Increased Online Access to Workers Compensation Medical Guidelines
Medical providers will be happy to note that the California Division of Workers’ Compensation is providing free, online access to their Medical Treatment Utilization Schedule (MTUS) guidelines. Previously, treating doctors had to pay for access to the guidelines. Lack of access led to a larger number of denials of claims and the need for utilization review.
Free access to the guidelines will remove barriers to access, and the expectation is that it will ultimately improve quality of care and result in higher approval rates. It will also ensure that treatment decisions for employees injured on the job are determined by the best available evidence, so that appropriate coverage and treatment are approved by the insurer.
In other words, since treatment approval is going to depend on guideline compliance, giving those affected easy and free online access should improve guideline compliance – thereby increasing workers compensation treatment approval.
Will Technology Improve the Workers Compensation Process?
Technology is an ever-expanding and evolving industry. Some of these technologies may prove more beneficial than others, and some are still in or near their development stage. However, as advances in technology increase, there is little doubt that technology and data will become more important in the workers compensation process in the future.
While technology offers greater efficiency and breadth of information, automated systems obviously lack the personal touch and compassion available through contact with a human being. It is too soon to tell whether the greater efficiency of automation is worth reduced human contact.
Our Orange County workers compensation attorneys stay on top of advances in technological advancements and how it affects our clients. We are also available in person to help you if you have been injured on the job, and we are happy to schedule a consultation with you at no charge to discuss your case.
Orange County Workers Compensation Attorneys
If you were injured or made ill in the workplace, we recommend that you speak with an experienced workers comp lawyer immediately. Even if you are currently receiving workers comp benefits, it is a good idea to get some legal advice to protect your rights going into the future.
An experienced Orange County workers compensation attorney can help you identify minor issues before they become major problems – and make sure that you not only receive your benefits now, but for years to come.
Your consultation with our Orange County workers compensation attorneys is 100% confidential, and neither your employer nor your insurance company will be notified that you requested a consultation with us. Our lawyers will help you understand your rights and work tirelessly to ensure that you receive the maximum workers’ compensation benefits for which you qualify.