What I Learned About Workers’ Compensation Data Collection from Having Two Young Boys

By Matt Raymond

The crying six-year-old arrived at the front door first. A palm covered his forehead as tears drizzled down his face. He fell in my arms and called for his mother (as my children tend to do despite my sincere efforts to comfort them). Through the screen door I saw his three-year-old brother waddling up the front steps, hand to his bright red head.

Two boys, two lumps, many questions.

I knew they had been playing with the kids next door on our playset which has an observation platform about six feet high. Had they fallen? Or were they hit by something—or each other? Given that we were dealing with head injuries, I wanted details quickly. With bags of frozen vegetables in hand I attempted to get the scoop, but like many kids’ stories, they were fragmented and not quite matching up. As a parent, finding the truth often takes a bit of detective work. I looked out back to see the boys next door had fled. Fortunately, I knew where they lived if I needed to interview witnesses.

After cobbling together an explanation (the brothers were traveling in opposite directions on the slide and collided), I watched the boys scamper back outside to resume playing. Reflecting on the incident, I thought about the parallels between what had occurred and the challenges businesses face when responding to and collecting data on workplace injuries.

Alleviating the Pain in Data Collection

When accidents happen, responding with compassion and being an active listener puts the employee’s welfare in focus. It’s also the beginning of the data collection process. Something my wife is better at than me is showing empathy first before interrogating our boys. As a result, she often gets to the truth faster and determines an appropriate action plan, while the kids bounce back (emotionally and physically) more quickly. Of course, workplace injuries are often much more complex than playground collisions, and some detective work is required to effectively manage employee care, costs, and compliance.

Data collection for worksite injuries can be a painful experience for whoever owns the task at your company. Gathering information about the employee, about the injury, and about the employee’s treatment/return-to-work plan can be time-consuming and difficult to keep organized—not to mention the reports and forms required throughout the process.

(The Society of Human Resource Management has a helpful 9-step article on how to administer a workers’ compensation claim.)

Workers’ compensation claim management software can help accelerate data collection, avoid costly delays that stem from recovering missing information, and help get employees back to work more quickly. Here are three advantages to using software over spreadsheets:

Improve Data Accuracy

Juggling multiple checklists, forms, and notes from a variety of sources can result in incomplete and inaccurate data. Software can give you a consistent, structured approach to data collection while storing information in a centralized location that multiple users can access.

Manage Complex Cases

Even “simple” workers’ comp claims have many moving parts. Now consider the difficulty in managing complex indemnity-related scenarios, such as when an employee leaves and returns to work multiple times, is assigned to light duty, or participates in an alternative return-to-work program. Having a system that allows you to stay on top of changes and easily track an employee’s evolving status can save you more than a few headaches.

Avoid Delays and Errors

Errors can be costly, unnecessarily prolong claim processing, and impact your modification rate. Software not only helps keep your process on track by following a consistent workflow, but can help you manage communications with employees such as reminders for doctor visits and treatment to get them back to work more quickly.

Learn more about how PrismHR Risk Mitigation can help data collection for worksite injuries and workers’ compensation claims.