How Telemedicine Can Make Workers’ Comp More Efficient

The Delaware workers’ compensation attorneys at Silverman, McDonald & Friedman advocate for employees injured or sickened on the job. We work with clients out of our Newark, Newark, Seaford, and Wilmington offices.

Today, people are using telemedicine more than ever. In addition to the fact that it’s convenient and nearly every health insurance company offers it, telemedicine provides a safe alternative to in-office appointments when a patient is immobile or contagious. It can also come into play during the workers’ compensation process.

Telemedicine, or digital healthcare, can help make the workers’ compensation process operate more effectively by providing:

  • 24/7 access to clinical data
  • Claims specialists to collaborate easily with medical providers
  • Elimination of trips to the ER, doctor, or urgent care
  • Improved recovery outcomes for injured employees
  • Personalized treatment
  • Quick assessment of workplace injuries
  • Remote patient monitoring

The National Council on Compensation Insurance’s 2019 Annual Issues Symposium highlighted telehealth and telemedicine as emerging topics in the industry. Consider the following statistics:

  • Seventy-six percent of hospitals connect with patients and practitioners using video and other technology
  • Every state in the country offers coverage for telemedicine, either through a private insurance provider or through Medicaid
  • Many states also have “parity laws,” which require health insurers to cover services provided by telehealth in the same way they would cover services provided in-person
  • Eighty percent of large employers use telemedicine, and that number is expected to exceed 90 percent by 2020

Of course, telemedicine isn’t a solution for severe or catastrophic injuries, but it can be optimal for common workplace injuries like strains, sprains, or occupational diseases and conditions. However, with advancements in medical and telehealth technology, doctors can diagnose and monitor a patient’s condition even if the patient is housebound.

Delaware’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic

In response to the recent coronavirus pandemic, Delaware Governor John Carney issued a temporary lift on telemedicine restrictions. This modified declaration means:

  • Patients are no longer required to see a healthcare provider in-person before they can receive telehealth services. This means patients can receive treatment from a healthcare provider for the first time using telecommunication methods;
  • Delaware residents are no longer required to be physically present in Delaware when telehealth services are provided. This means students and employees who reside in Delaware, but who—as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic—are currently located outside the state, can use telecommunication methods to receive treatment by healthcare professionals in Delaware; and
  • Out-of-state healthcare providers who would be permitted to provide telehealth services under Delaware law if they were licensed in Delaware may provide telehealth services to Delaware residents if they hold an active license in another state.

Note: The Delaware Courts continue to remain closed to the public until May 14, 2020, but don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any concerns.

At Silverman, McDonald & Friedman, our attorneys represent the interests of workers across Delaware. Call us at 302-888-2900 or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment. We have offices in Wilmington, Newark, and Seaford.