A Capehart Scatchard Blog

Advantages of Telemedicine in Workers’ Compensation

By on September 28, 2018 in Other with 0 Comments

Does telemedicine have a place in workers’ compensation?  This practitioner was undecided on this question until a week ago when participating in a conference devoted to the benefits of using telemedicine in workers’ compensation. The presentation was offered by Concentra, and it made a strong case for telemedicine as a useful adjunct to workers’ compensation treatment.

The way it works is simple: an injured worker connects on a computer or a mobile device to a clinician by video.  Clearly telemedicine makes good sense for minor medical issues such as sprains or contusions.  Concentra estimates that 30 percent of initial injuries and 60% of injury rechecks can be treated via telemedicine.

What are the savings?  Among them is that there is no need to transport the injured worker to a medical facility and no need to provide coverage for that injured worker while out of the work site.  There are fewer hours of lost time.  Perhaps the biggest financial savings is not incurring ER charges or urgent care bills.

One type of New Jersey worker who clearly benefits from telemedicine is the over-the-road trucker who may be injured a thousand miles from home.  The telemedicine patient can be seen on the road, at work or even in the home.  The worker can request text notification regarding when the clinician is available to treat, thereby avoiding waiting times in medical offices.

The follow-up treatment involves sending paperwork by secure email to the employee as well as reports to the employer by email or other communication.

Will telemedicine replace occupational health centers?  Clearly not, because serious injury case are not appropriate for telemedicine.  It does seem to this practitioner that telemedicine will grow rapidly around the state for many types of injuries.  Clinicians will need to be careful in limiting the use of telemedicine to minor cases and recognizing when an in-person visit to a physician must be made. Many workers will no doubt prefer telemedicine in many situations.  Care may be improved by prompt telemedicine, eliminating the problem of workers who delay their own treatment because they do not want to take the time off from work to travel to an occupational clinic.

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John H. Geaney

About the Author

About the Author:

John H. Geaney, an executive committee member and shareholder with Capehart Scatchard, began an email newsletter entitled Currents in Workers’ Compensation, ADA and FMLA in 2001 in order to keep clients and readers informed on leading developments in these three areas of law. Since that time he has written over 500 newsletter updates.

Mr. Geaney is the author of Geaney’s New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Manual for Practitioners, Adjusters & Employers. The manual is distributed by the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education (NJICLE). He also authored an ADA and FMLA manual as distributed by NJICLE. If you are interested in purchasing the manual, please contact NJICLE at 732-214-8500 or visit their website at www.njicle.com.

Mr. Geaney represents employers in the defense of workers’ compensation, ADA and FMLA matters. He is a Fellow of the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers of the American Bar Association and is certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a workers’ compensation law attorney. He is one of two firm representatives to the National Workers’ Compensation Defense Network. He has served on the Executive Committee of Capehart Scatchard for over ten (10) years.

A graduate of Holy Cross College summa cum laude, Mr. Geaney obtained his law degree from Boston College Law School. He has been named a “Super Lawyer” by his peers and Law and Politics. He serves as Vice President of the Friends of MEND, the fundraising arm of a local charitable organization devoted to promoting affordable housing.

Capehart Scatchard is a full service law firm with offices in Mt. Laurel and Trenton, New Jersey. The firm represents employers and businesses in a wide variety of areas, including workers’ compensation, civil litigation, labor, environmental, business, estates and governmental affairs.

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