COVID-19 & Injured Workers: MedRisk COO Mary O’Donoghue Discusses Telerehab & Continuity of Care

For anyone managing injured worker claims and care, the inability for injured workers to receive the care they need for an indefinite amount of time is deeply concerning.

That’s why, in the wake of widespread concerns in relation to the pandemic, telemedicine is stepping up to the plate.

In this Risk & Insurance feature, MedRisk COO Mary O’Donoghue discusses telehealth and the shift to digital care. From physical therapy appointments to making sure medical devices are working, these programs have helped keep injured workers on track to recovery.

“Continuity of care is very important, and that’s one of the things that we try very hard to make sure that we are focused on,” said O’Donoghue. For the past three years, MedRisk’s telerehab program has leveraged a hybrid model that typically starts with in-clinic visits and finishes the episode of care with video conference sessions.

When coronavirus fears caused patients to cancel PT appointments or delay the start of care, MedRisk adapted the service to provide telerehab to workers at any point in their care, including initial visits. In addition, they expanded telerehab hours to 7 days a week, 12 hours a day.

“Through the telerehab process, our goal is to improve function and independence through guided exercises,” O’Donoghue continues.

“After the visit, we upload all of their exercises, instructions, videos into the patient portal. So at any point after the visit, if they can’t remember specifically how certain exercises are supposed to be performed, they can just get into their patient portal and all that information is available to them.”

While this model is especially beneficial in today’s time of social distancing and quarantine, the shift to telemedicine may continue even after COVID-19 ends. In fact, O’Donoghue points out that “on average, about three less PT visits take place per episode when you go with the hybrid model.” This is thanks to the flexibility and resources that telerehab offers to patients.

So, if there’s one silver lining of this crisis, O’Donoghue offers this: “I hope what comes out of this is heightened awareness and recognition of the value telemedicine overall can play as a part of our healthcare system in general.”

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