Injured Worker Outreach: A Vital Element in Your Business Continuity Plan

11 months ago

Injured Worker Outreach: A Vital Element in Your Business Continuity Plan

By Matthew High, Senior Vice President of Operations, One Call 

In the wake of Hurricane Ida, we’re reminded how vital it is to prepare, as much as possible, for natural disasters. While there are checklist items that typically come to mind like stocking up on non-perishables, water, and batteries, other necessities come into play as well. People recovering from workplace injuries have their own checklist items, requiring unique expertise to keep their healing on track. 

Workplace injuries may result in the need for complex, coordinated care that includes a range of services and equipment. From home health care to delivery of everyday medical supplies to more advanced needs – these services must continue, even when Mother Nature doesn't cooperate. A comprehensive, proactive strategy is imperative to maintain continuity of care for injured workers.

Just as early engagement in a workers’ compensation claim can lead to better outcomes, the same is true with impending natural disasters like hurricanes. Keeping a pulse on what’s coming and implementing tactics ahead of forecasted disasters are critical aspects of an effective business continuity plan. As a part of scenario planning and strategic forecasting, data and technology are key components that can help you track, manage, and communicate efficiently with injured workers, adjusters, case managers, and claims executives. 

A recent test of our business continuity plan was Hurricane Ida. In the days leading up to the massive storm, our team researched forecasted areas of impact and began outreach to clients and injured workers. Through a variety of communication channels including email, telephone, and text messages, we sought to understand plans of injured workers to evacuate or shelter-in-place so services could be modified as necessary. In some cases, this meant shipping a surplus of supplies to get through the immediate aftermath of the storm. In other cases, it meant redirecting, pausing, or sourcing new provider services in alternate locations where evacuations took place. 

It’s important to utilize data and technology to keep adjusters and case managers connected and informed about the needs and location of injured workers. Tracking of Hurricane Ida’s projected impact areas by ZIP code and using SMS text messaging allowed for nearly immediate engagement and intervention where applicable. When a proactive approach is taken, the likelihood of disruptions in coordinated care can be reduced. 

This approach can have a real impact on the injured workers you serve. In the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, our team was able to reach more than 200 injured workers by SMS text message. Of those reached, 28 injured workers responded to notify OC they were impacted by the hurricane. Their responses enabled us to quickly get to work coordinating their care with our providers and making sure they had supplies where needed. 

The need for the right care at the right time doesn’t change when storms, mudslides, earthquakes, floods, or wildfires hit. Natural disasters can lead to worry and uncertainty, but access to home health care and required equipment should remain consistent. By creating a business continuity plan that takes a proactive approach and leverages technology, allows stakeholders the peace of mind their injured workers will recieve continued care, even when disasters strike. 

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This article originally appeared in WorkCompWire.

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