The old adage says, “What gets measured, gets managed.” What does that mean for workers compensation? What can we measure to truly improve outcomes for everyone in the workers compensation system?
There is certainly no shortage of data, but what we do with it, how we measure it, and, most importantly, how we apply it are key components to improving the system for everyone.
The most important element of any program is treating injured workers well and getting them back to health and work as quickly as possible.
Three-point contact, adjuster caseloads, and the speed of communicating with the injured worker are all metrics to be extensively measured. But are these still relevant? Does success for these measurements lead to better outcomes, or should they evolve?
There is no definitive answer except that measurements are important if they ultimately lead to better outcomes.
Allowing metrics to evolve with advancing technology is important. The first communication with the injured worker is very different than just a short time ago. Some employers are now able to view employer video footage within hours of a claim being reported. Now, the first conversation with the injured worker can focus on them, not discovery.
The most important metrics to measure are those that focus on three core factors.
- The speed with which the claim goes through the system
- The quality of the medical care
- Efforts around return to work
Keeping a balance on the metrics measured is key.
If you are making significant changes to your program, be sure to discuss these with the actuaries so they can adjust their modeling accordingly. Employers should meet with actuaries frequently to monitor trends that are impacting their program. It is important to show actuaries how all the metrics work together to see the whole story, rather than looking at any one metric in isolation.
Going forward, the industry will need to learn to trust the metrics more. It is time for stakeholders to rely on the technology, rather than what their guts are telling them should be right.
At the same time, it is crucial to make sure the customer is happy, regardless of what the measurements show. Measurements do not matter if the injured worker has a bad experience. There is no single measure that will guarantee success. The metrics can lead to positive outcomes when they are viewed as one factor in the overall injury management program. Organizations need to be willing to evolve and change with technology and the experiences of injured workers.
At the end of the day, it is how well we care for injured workers that is the most important thing.
If you have any questions about your workers compensation coverage please don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our licensed agents at Contractors Insurance Agency.