How much of your company budget for workplace injuries is going to fix injuries that are misdiagnosed in the initial phase? A new study by a consulting group called “Best Doctors” estimates that more than 20% of on-the-job injuries may be misdiagnosed and that number climbs to 50% for the most expensive workers compensation case. All told, the group believes that American industry spends $15 billion a year on cases that were misdiagnosed. You can review the study here.
Here are a few of the ways that Best Doctors says misdiagnosis costs companies:
- MISDIAGNOSIS LEADS TO A FUTILE CHASE FOR PAIN RELIEF – If the initial diagnosis is incorrect, it sets up a cycle of continual pain, more aggressive treatments and increased frustration.
- SURGEON UTILIZES QUESTIONABLE MRI FINDING TO PROPOSE SURGERY NOT RELATED TO THE PATIENT’S INJURY – MRI’s are important tools in diagnosing injuries, but they are only one tool. in many cases, a conservative approach that allows an injury to heal naturally is the right treatment.
- THE TREATMENT PLAN RELIES TOO MUCH ON OPIOIDS, MAKING THINGS WORSE – The complications and potential dangers of opiodes have received enormous attention, but they are still being prescribed incorrectly in many cases.
- THE TREATMENT TEAM IS NOT AGGRESSIVE ENOUGH – While conservative approaches are generally best, certain cases, such as brain injuries, require high-level expert care. Knowing the right approach for the case is critical.
Does your injury management program protect you and your employees from these “five deadly sins” of misdiagnosis?
How one occupational medicine leader addresses the problem
CORE Occupational Medicine maintains a nurse hotline service called TimeZero to address injuries immediately and has developed a network of clinics to offer treatment anywhere in the country.
- Immediate: The injured worker or a supervisor calls the nurse directly. She does an initial assessment by phone.
- Conservative: If the injury only requires first aid, the nurse recommends simple approaches to allow the worker to recover and not exacerbate the injury.
- Quality care: If the injury requires more advanced treatment, the nurse finds a nearby clinic with expertise in occupational medicine.
- Communication: The nurse communicates with
- Patients to make sure they know they will be cared for,
- Clinics to make sure the care addresses the root causes of the injury, and
- Companies to make sure nothing falls through the cracks.
All told, it is a recipe for holding down costs and making sure employees receive the right treatment right from the start. Want to learn more? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or (985) 789-0577.