3 key trends shaping the industry and what you need to be doing today

3 key trends shaping the industry and what you need to be doing today

It’s no surprise that the world we live in is ever-changing…

And yes, that includes even the world of claims and PT.

Each year, there are noticeable trends in the industry — trends that impact our day-to-day practices.

As we enter into the second half of 2023, have you taken note of the key trends shaping the future of our industry? Below, we list three trends that you need to know and more importantly, what you need to be doing about them.

As identified in our 2023 Industry Trends Report, here are the quick facts — keep scrolling if you want to learn more:

  • An aging employee population. 39% of the U.S. workforce is expected to be older than 55 in 2026. Being that total PT visits increase by injured employee age, it’s increasingly more important for employers to take necessary measures to prevent injuries among the older workforce.
  • Increased rates of anxiety and depression. With a significant jump in reported anxiety and/or depression among injured employees between 2019 and 2023, taking proactive steps to identify and manage psychosocial health conditions has become of the essence.
  • Lower rates of surgery and opioid utilization. Only 16% of claims involving PT in 2022 were reported to have utilized surgery. With PT becoming a more widely accepted critical conservative care recommendation, a positive trend for claim costs and outcomes can be expected.

1. An aging employee population

While older employees get injured less frequently, it doesn’t come as a shock that older adults generally tend to heal slower than younger people. This difference in the recovery process can affect the rehabilitation journey in different ways — specifically in terms of total PT visits and duration.

Across all injury types, data shows that the number of PT visits attended by injured employees increases by about one full visit with each age group up through the 55-65 age bracket, where average visits per episode of care, remains consistent through the older population. What this means, however, is that persons aged 56-75+ need 21% more PT visits on average than persons aged 18-55. Unsurprisingly, MedRisk also found that while the number of visits increases by age bracket, so too does duration. Data shows that 31% of persons aged 56-75+ experience a longer rehabilitation process than those aged 18-55.

So what do you need to do? It’s now become essential to plan and act with age in mind. Start with arming yourself with the right knowledge and putting preventative measures to “age-proof” your workplace. Moreover, maximize new AI-driven PT innovations that can identify high severity claims early on to assign the appropriate resources for age-specific needs of older adults.

2. Increased rates of anxiety and depression

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increase in anxiety and depression among the general population. This is also true for workers who have been injured on the job.

Data reveals that 50% or more injured employees experience clinically-related depressive symptoms at some point, especially during the first month after the injury. These cases, when compared to those where these conditions were not reported, were also found to have 7% higher utilization than those who did not report these conditions

So how can you respond? Unlike bruises or lacerations, psychological setbacks tend to be invisible, but they can still derail recovery and claim progress, ultimately impacting claim outcomes. Partnering with the right PT provider that can help detect these early on is key. Pre-treatment consultation can provide predictive insights into a patient’s behavior, including any barriers or psychosocial issues that impact their recovery.

3. Lower rates of surgery and opioid utilization

There is a growing trend away from surgery and opioid use for workers’ compensation injuries. Prior to the coronavirus health pandemic, rates of surgery were already declining, with nearly one-quarter of all claims involving PT receiving surgery in 2015 compared to just 16% in 2022. This is due to a number of factors, including the high cost of surgery and opioids, the potential for addiction, and the availability of effective non-surgical treatments, such as physical therapy.

As a result of the trends mentioned above, there is an increased use of physical therapy for workers’ compensation injuries. Physical therapy can help workers recover more quickly and safely, and it can also help to reduce the cost of claims.

So what does this mean to you? With physical therapy playing a larger role in medical treatment and overall medical management costs, you can expect lower costs and shorter recovery times.

Q2 2023 Legislative Updates

Here is a summary of legislative and regulatory developments and challenges for the second quarter of 2023 and their practical implications:

State Consumer Privacy Laws:

Several states (CO, CT, FL, IA, IN, MT, OR, TN, TX & UT) enacted consumer privacy laws, joining California and Virginia, whose legislation was described in earlier Legislative Updates. These statutes follow a pattern:


Adoption of reasonable administrative, technical, and physical data security practices to protect the confidentiality, integrity, and accessibility of personal data.

Effective notice to consumers plus consumer consent regarding non-transactional uses of consumers’ personal data, including selling to third parties.

Prompt compliance with consumers’ requests to review or delete personal data.

Applicability thresholds: Applies to companies that annually control or process data of a large number (typically 100,000) state residents or annually sell data of a large number (typically (25,000) state residents and derive a significant part of their revenue (typically 50%) from these sales.

Protected class: Applies only to “consumers” who are natural persons acting in their individual or household context, excluding natural persons acting in a commercial or employment context.

Exemptions: Not subject to the laws are financial institutions that are regulated by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act and sensitive personal information that is subject to HIPAA

Implications: Recent statutes have been enacted in both conservative and progressive states, suggesting that these measures may have bipartisan support for adoption of similar laws in additional states. And while these statutes have similarities, there are a few that are distinctly different. For example, the Florida Digital Bill of Rights, while targeting large companies engaging in automated consumer marketing or software app sales, requires a broad range of companies that collect information from Florida residents to obtain consumers’ consent before selling sensitive data. The Texas Data Privacy and Security Act, as another example, broadly applies to all for-profit companies that process or sell personal data and which are not classified as a “small business.”

Relaxation of Nevada In-State Records & Claim Administration Requirements:

In what must be a relief to claim managers, the Nevada legislature recently removed a statutory requirement that WC insurers and TPAs maintain an in-state claim office in order to provide access to claim files, which must be physically maintained at that office. Senate Bill 274, signed by Governor Joe Lombardo on June 16, permits claim handlers to make claim files available for inspection and reproduction by electronic means and to keep physical claim records at a location outside Nevada if those records are made available electronically for inspection and reproduction.

Implications: The new law makes clear that claim office accessibility requirements have not been relaxed:  adjusters who are permitted to work from an-out-of-state location must maintain their availability “to communicate in real time with the claimant or a representative of the claimant Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. local time in this State” excluding legal holidays. Further, the measure empowers the Insurance Commissioner to discipline TPAs who don’t comply with the new out-of-state access requirements. The statute takes effect January 1, 2024, except that rulemaking entities can adopt rules for implementation immediately.

Introducing “The Elevated Experience”

Introducing “The Elevated Experience”

We are proud to share the remarkable success that our clients and Injured Workers have experienced with us

As a leader in PT services, MedRisk has consistently led the way in innovation and achieved unparalleled results for countless individuals.

“The Elevated Experience” sheds light on positive experience and how your business can reach new heights of success when working with MedRisk.

Introducing “The Elevated Experience”

MedRisk’s Aubrie Cunningham is a Winner of the 2023 Business Insurance Break Out Awards

Learn about Aubrie’s award-winning success:


As Senior Vice President of Pricing and Business Intelligence, Aubrie Cunningham is the data analytics expert of MedRisk, the leading provider of managed physical medicine services for the workers’ comp industry and related market sectors.

Cunningham joined MedRisk as a Customer Service Professional in November 2013, a little over nine years after completing her Bachelors of Health Science from Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA. During this time, she was also obtaining her Master of Health Administration (MHA) with a concentration in Health Informatics at St Joseph’s University.

Shortly after, Cunningham moved into the role of Account Representative, supporting the executive account management team through data, analytics and reporting. During this time, she became more involved with a variety of client-facing projects and meetings, helping handle one of the company’s largest clients. In July 2015, she moved into a position as a Junior Process Engineer.

In the years that followed, Cunningham developed the Reporting team from a task-based team of three people to a business unit consisting of over 20 people from the US and overseas, specializing in Consultative Analytics and Business Intelligence. She was named Employee of the Year in 2019.

With her in-depth knowledge on the business, its processes, and workflows and her experience across multiple departments, Cunningham grew at an accelerated trajectory, allowing her to expand her role quickly from Supervisor, to Manager, to Director, to Vice President, and ultimately, Senior Vice President.

Today, Cunningham leads MedRisk’s department of data experts, a fundamental team that helps the organization make strategic business decisions based on data and trends.

Client Service

As Senior Vice President of Pricing and Business Intelligence, Aubrie Cunningham fully supports an international operation of over 1,000 employees for an organization that generates over $700M in revenue. As part of this role, she also spearheads the development and support of all internal analytics projects including day-to-day business support reporting, workflow and process transparency reporting, issue resolution reporting, trends reports, all client/provider pricing reports, revenue/margin/financial reporting, and health of organization reports.

In addition to internal projects, Cunningham is also the driving force behind the development and support of all external analytics projects. This includes stewardship presentations, an annual probe into each MedRisk client’s portfolio, evaluating performance, identifying trends, and determining opportunities. Moreover, she leads the creation of monthly/quarterly/annual performance reporting packages, trending details, and additional opportunity/leakage reporting.

Across the different roles she held in the organization, Cunningham has been actively involved in external client meetings, where she brings in an analytics approach on metrics being presented and discussed. By constantly working directly and engaging with clients, she is able to identify their specific reporting needs and gaps in metrics. In addition, she provides each of them with consultative support, allowing clients to expand their business intelligence dashboards as a method to better provide transparency for their program.


Throughout her career in MedRisk and as its current principal resource in data and analytics, Aubrie Cunningham has been instrumental to the growth of the organization’s reporting capabilities.

With the intention of having a dedicated “one-stop shop” for MedRisk’s internal and external businesses, she led the formation and support of the company’s business intelligence unit. Working together with this team, Cunningham paved the way for the creation of several business intelligence dashboards that have been pivotal in providing insights for strategic decisions for clients. Among the dashboards developed were for Revenue Operations Insights (start-to-finish transparency into revenue operations cycles with distribution of work to employees and performance metrics), Provider Management Insights (provider monitoring including health of client, trends, and outcomes), Financial Reporting Metrics (supporting the organization’s Finance and Executive team in identifying trends, financial metrics, and decision-making), Account Management Performance Dashboard (insurer/TPA/employer monitoring including health of client, trends, and outcomes), Human Resources Insights (employment, tenure, and performance), Core Operations Insights (start-to-finish transparency into core operations cycles with distribution of work to employees and performance metrics), and KPI Insights (full internal business insights).

Furthermore, Cunningham advanced the addition of data science roles within MedRisk and improved modeling/predictive capabilities, including the creation of its Patient Risk Scoring model and Provider SmartMatch model.


In her nine years with MedRisk, Aubrie Cunningham has had a successful journey across various roles and departments, including operations, account management, and IT. Joining the company first as a Customer Service Professional, she later moved on into the roles of Account Representative, Junior Process Engineer, Supervisor of Data Analytics, Manager of Data Analytics, and ultimately, as Senior Vice President of Pricing and Business Intelligence.

Across the different roles she held, Cunningham displayed exemplary performance. Her experiences as a Customer Service Professional, Account Representative, and Junior Process Engineer contributed to building her knowledge of the business, creating a solid, well-versed foundation that allows her to view projects with multiple lenses.

As she moved on to larger roles as Supervisor of Data Analytics, Manager of Data Analytics, and now, as MedRisk’s Senior Vice President of Pricing and Business Intelligence, Cunningham has utilized her expertise and business acumen to manage multiple teams and pilot several successful projects. From report provision, to gap and opportunity identification, to consultative support for both internal and external clients, she has made great contributions to creating the structure for the organization’s data capabilities and expanding them in the long run.

Today, Cunningham serves as the forefront of the MedRisk’s growing data team and supports an international operation of over 1,000 employees and numerous external partners. Grounded in strong business knowledge and her sharp analytical approach, she continues to lead with clear purpose and strategy in mind.

MedRisk Sponsors 2023 Kids’ Chance of America National Conference

MedRisk is sponsoring the 2023 Kids’ Chance of America National Conference, May 4-6, 2023.

At the 2023 Kids’ Chance of America National Conference, representatives of state Kids’ Chance organizations will learn best practices and strategies for raising scholarship funds, increasing student engagement, managing a non-profit, marketing, and establishing corporate partnerships. Attendees will also meet scholarship recipients and hear their stories.

The 2023 Kids’ Chance of America National Conference will be held at The Alexander Hotel in Indianapolis, Indiana on May 4-6. More information is available here.

About Kids’ Chance of America

Kids’ Chance of America is a 501(c)(3) organization that provides a forum for state Kids’ Chance organizations to discuss best practices, share resources, and collaborate on projects at a national level. There are 43 state organizations, and collectively, Kids’ Chance organizations have awarded more than 6,500 scholarships across the country, totaling over $20 million. For more information, please see www.kidschance.org.

About MedRisk

Based in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, MedRisk is the largest managed care organization dedicated to the physical rehabilitation of injured workers. One of the Inc. 5,000 fastest growing companies, MedRisk counts over 162,000 providers in its network and serves over one-half million injured workers every year. The company holds direct contracts with more than 90 percent of the nation’s top workers’ compensation insurers and third-party administrators. MedRisk, which has successfully completed a SSAE 16 Type II examination, ensures high quality care and delivers outstanding customer service. To that end, all customer service professionals, healthcare advocates and physical therapists are based in the U.S. For more information, visit www.medrisknet.com or call 800-225-9675.