Telemedicine: The solution to after hours and remote site injury management?
It is often difficult to access quality medical care and advice for your injuries after-hours. For rural and remote sites, getting your workers off site to see a doctor can be even more challenging, costly, and time consuming.
Getting the right treatment and advice immediately following a workplace injury is crucial for an employee in both their rehabilitation process and to keep them at work. We understand that the likelihood of an employee returning to work decreases the longer they are absent from work.
Telemedicine is the delivery of health-related services and advice via tele communication platforms such as Skype for Business. This is an excellent solution to access immediate and quality medical advice, in rural and remote areas after-hours.
As a doctor I have been using telemedicine since 2008 to assist employers with injury management. Telemedicine allows you to have access to the right medical advice 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and is as simple as sitting in front of a computer with a webcam.
Through telemedicine platforms, injured workers will have immediate access to a range of medical personnel including doctors, nurses and allied health professionals. This ensures an integrated and prompt recovery with optimal outcomes for both the business and the worker.
Consultations take place in a designated private room (e.g. first aid room where you can shut the door) on your premises. Depending on your organisations policies, a nominated representative, rehabilitation coordinator or first aid officer will be present in the room during the consultation.
A range of tools are available to support the diagnostics of a telemedicine consultation. These include a digital stethoscope to allow listening to heart and lungs during consultations and digital otoscopes for ear examinations.
There are a number of business efficiencies and savings to be made when utilising telemedicine to manage injuries. These are evident particularly around reducing claim costs and maintaining productivity throughout an injury.
Security is always one of the questions we get asked about when using telemedicine. Skype for Business has enterprise grade security and is a universally recognised, easy to use platform for our clients. Skype for Business works seamlessly on wireless internet and provides high definition on smartphones and iPads, making access to remote injury management easy when you are on-site.
Dr Allen is Sonic HealthPlus eHealth Clinical Lead, 'Its fantastic that we are now offering telemedicine solutions for our clients and there injury management needs throughout Australia.'
- Australian and New Zealand consensus statement on the health benefits of work. Position statement: realizing the health benefits of work
- Work Safe Australia The Cost of Work-related Injury and Illness for Australian Employers, Workers and the Community: 2012–13