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Bridging the Gaps

01 May, 2023 Harvey Warren

harvey warren224x185

By Harvey Warren and Douglas Amend

There are many moving parts to assisting injured workers through the recovery process. Some of those parts are not strictly medical and often present gaps in the recovery process. Often those gaps impede or can even defeat the finest possible medical care. Mindset, nutrition, activity, and rest comprise the gaps in injured worker recovery strategies.

While workers’ compensation case managers and doctors play an essential role in the patient's recovery, they may not always have the time or resources to provide patients with the non-medical support they need to optimally recover. Injury Recovery Coaching is an emerging field that fills the gaps in information that a patient receives from their workers’ compensation case manager and doctor during their recovery process.

This is where a patient education platform supported by an Injury Recovery Coach may provide invaluable support. An Injury Recovery Coach is a peer professional who uses their own recovery experience in helping injured workers navigate the complex and often confusing process of injury recovery. We have personally provided injured workers with individualized support, helping them to stay motivated, focused, and engaged in their treatment plan.

Injury Recovery Coaching is particularly valuable for patients who are struggling to adjust to their new reality. After an injury, workers can often feel isolated or “forgotten,” complicating recovery engagement due to anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues. By providing patients with the non-medical support and guidance they need to navigate their recovery process, an Injury Recovery Coach can help injured workers achieve an optimal and sustainable recovery.

A case in point is rotator cuff injuries. Studies have shown that rotator cuff injuries often result in bouts of severe depression. Dr. Justin Saliman, an orthopedic surgeon in Los Angeles, made us aware of this study during a conversation about the importance of mindset in the recovery process. Dr. Saliman is noteworthy here because he is the creator of the OutcomeMD® app. He realized separate and apart from our own theory that “the patient is the wildcard in the recovery process”, that the delivery of topline surgical services does not guarantee a topline outcome. His application is originally designed to assure prospective patients that a surgeon’s “rating” is a result of data gathering on great outcomes not about subjective patient assessments.

The utilization of OutcomeMD® in the patient education and recovery coaching space identified the “gap” between the delivery of medical services and the achievement of the best possible outcome. Understanding that “gap” shines a light on the need for injured worker recovery services to include more than the traditional provision of medical care. Patient mindset, the level at which the injured worker engages and focuses on their own recovery, can be a key factor in a failed or successful recovery. In our opinion, patient education and recovery coaching is a gap in the workers’ compensation process. Closing this gap is a benefit for the injured worker and for the employer paying the bill.

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    About The Author

    • Harvey Warren

      Harvey Warren has enjoyed many careers, from screenwriter to film producer to financial services professional. With a bachelor’s de­gree in communications from Ithaca College and a master’s degree from Syracuse Univer­sity, writing has always been his passion. As the Optimized Patient he fulfills his dream to write about healing. Joining the Experts Analysis enables Mr. Warren to directly contribute the “patient’s view” to the industry. Mr. Warren lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Wileen.

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