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Research Spotlight: The Impact of Provider Communication on Return to Work

Can effective provider communication minimize time away from work for injured workers?

A recent article published in Medical Care looked at how healthcare provider (HCP) communication can facilitate the successful return to work (RTW) for injured workers.

There is a growing recognition among HCPs that injured worker treatment must go beyond biomechanical therapies in order to help the patient achieve optimal outcomes. Patient education and communication can be important components of minimizing time loss after injury. The authors analyzed linked survey and administrative claims data from workers’ compensation recipients to assess whether HCP communication could predict time off work and whether this impact could be hampered by a stressful HCP experience.

The report found that sharing a likely RTW date with patients reduced the odds of future time loss, regardless of the stress of their HCP experience. In addition, HCPs may be able to reduce the length of future time loss by reaching out to stakeholders in the return-to-work process and possibly through prevention discussions, but only in low-stress encounters.

MedRisk helps facilitate patient education by providing informational materials and scheduling a consultation with an on-staff PT for patients prior to treatment. Insights from these conversations, along with ongoing progress notes, are communicated to stakeholders to support the injured employee and help mitigate hurdles on the path to recovery.

To read the complete article, click here.

Lane, T. J., Lilley, R., Black, O., Sim, M. R., & Smith, P. M. (2019). Health care provider communication and the duration of time loss among injured workers. Medical care57(9), 718-722.

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