Will They Do It?

11 Oct, 2022 Harvey Warren

                               

The question really surprised me. When I first presented the idea of educating patients to optimize them in preparation for surgery or through the challenges of injury recovery, a case manager asked, “Will they do it?” Why wouldn’t an injured worker do all that they can get better faster and stay better longer? Shockingly, there are a number of reasons I have heard over the last 18 months, none of them good. I learned along the way that patient participation in taking advantage of educational material is really a bell curve. Some patients, like me, will do everything possible to prepare for and recover from surgery – and then even write a book about it. But, at the other end of the bell curve are people who will do absolutely nothing to participate in their recovery nearly to the point of actively resisting anything that resembles help when they realize getting better requires some effort on their part. Truly, it takes all kinds. However, the vast majority along the curve is comprised of people who genuinely want to get better, they just don’t know how. And, yes, they will gratefully do it. 

There is precious little in the workers’ compensation experience about patient education. Therefore, there is almost nothing known about whether or not injured workers will actually utilize educational material for their own enhanced recovery. Simply, the value of patient education has never been tested on a large enough scale to quantify that patients fare better when they are educated and coached through their recovery. Common sense is not yet common knowledge.

An initial test in Texas with OccMD confirmed three things:

1. “The patient is the wildcard” in the recovery process because they know little about a positive mindset, activity, rest, nutrition and their own role and value in their recovery.

2. Given the opportunity to enhance their chances for a better recovery with patient education and coaching not everyone will take the help. So, yes, some won’t do it. Clearly, when an injured worker has no interest in learning how to get better faster and stay better longer, the provision of the best medical care in the world is less likely to get a worker back to good health and returned to work in the shortest possible time frame – or perhaps ever.

3. Most will do it, and those that do appear to have improved outcomes and faster recovery times.

“Will they do it” is also a difficult question on the case management end of the equation as well. Assuming that case managers agree that patient education is critical to an optimized recovery and assuming they believe that the benefits are going to be considerable for those injured workers who do commit and engage, the “will they do it?” question takes an odd turn. We have come to wonder, will case managers do it? Will employers do it? Will insurers do it? Will they provide education and coaching to enough injured workers to study and quantify the benefits and value. Will they refer enough workers to help innovate this sorely needed development that not only demonstrates care and concern for the worker but may also mitigate the very costly outcomes of failed recoveries, re-admissions and secondary surgeries. My question to the workers’ compensation industry is “Will you do it?”


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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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