Editor’s Note: Dr. Jacob Lazarovic, MD, FAAFP, senior vice president and chief medical officer, Broadspire, discusses the prevalence of soft-tissue injuries as they relate to workers compensation costs and introduces a new Broadspire program to help mitigate these costs.
Soft-tissue injuries are a leading cause of workers compensation claims and costs and a primary reason for time away from work. Muscles, tendons and ligaments are most commonly injured during work, sports, exercise and even in simple everyday activities.
A Jan. 16, 2015 Insurance Journal article entitled, “Top 10 Causes of Workplace Injuries,” cited overexertion as the leading cause of injury. The article stated that overexertion includes injuries related to lifting, pushing, pulling, holding, carrying or throwing—most of which entail soft-tissue injury.
We recognize the challenges payers face in managing workers compensation claims. Therefore, Broadspire recently partnered with Emerge Diagnostics to provide Electrodiagnostic Functional Assessment (EFA) services to help control workers compensation costs related to soft-tissue injuries. EFA provides objective, evidence-based measurements of the functional status of an injured worker; helps prevent inappropriate treatment, unnecessary surgery and false claims; and identifies return-to-work opportunities. Of course, the EFA also helps to confirm the legitimate sources of pain more accurately, leading to timely and appropriate medical therapy.
One published study claims that the EFA test results positively affected the course of treatment, improved clinical and functional outcomes, increased patient satisfaction and decreased dispute litigation. The authors report that 98 of the 100 cases in this three-year study resulted in return to maximal medical improvement with no ratable impairment and full release to active duty.
EFA is a computer-assisted, diagnostic test that evaluates musculoskeletal and soft-tissue pathology and functionality. Using an array of wireless sensors positioned on the back, neck, shoulder and extremities, an EFA collects data while a patient is at rest and in motion. The resulting profile helps establish the location, nature, age and extent of an injury—or lack thereof. The EFA can be performed as a post-injury test only; or for selected job classes may be used to perform a baseline test. This choice allows clients the opportunity to consider whether and how EFA could benefit them.
The EFA Soft Tissue Management program provides employers with a non-discriminatory approach to determine if a work-related injury occurred within the scope of employment. If choosing the baseline test, Emerge stores data in the event that a work-related injury subsequently occurs. If an injury is reported, the baseline can be compared to a post-incident test to determine age of injury and whether it relates to the reported incident.
For more information regarding this new service, feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.