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October 28, 2015

Wearable Technology Could Change Worker's Compensation

Wearable technology is changing healthcare, but one area many people might not expect wearable technology to change much is in worker’s compensation.

“Within the workplace, wearable technology will significantly impact employees in three ways: help prevent workplace injury, keep routine injuries from migrating into more serious problems, and improve the long-term health status and independence of those who have serious injuries,” Zack Craft, vice president of rehab solutions and complex care education at One Call Care Management, said. “With wearable technology, we can reduce overall costs by keeping the treatment plan on track to avoid re-injury and complications. For people with serious limitations, we give them back a large degree of control over their own lives.”

Craft said that wearable technology would be appropriate for complex and catastrophic claims bariatric claims, geriatric claims and short-term claims.

Specific examples of wearable technology use include monitoring a worker’s posture or sensing when equipment is being used incorrectly. And in a bit of science fiction becoming reality, an exoskeleton scheduled for FDA approval in 2016 can help paralyzed people walk again.

Of course, workers might object to having their every movement tracked by management. Insurance companies might also deny claims because they were doing their jobs “incorrectly” before being injured.

But for Craft and One Call, using wearable technology is part of a shift toward a holistic long-term view of care. Wearables could help prevent long-term injury.

“As people age, their condition changes,” Craft said. “They may gain weight, or develop other health problems. The treatment plan itself may even impact their health; medication often produces side effects. The situation within the family may change as well. Compliance may become less exact. All these things can significantly impact the patient’s condition and well-being and in turn, may cause complications and additional treatment that would not otherwise be necessary.”

Edited by Kyle Piscioniere

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