Pfeiffer, S., & Borman, G. (2019). Early Intervention Injury Management via Telehealth. Australian Occupational Therapy Journal. July 2019.
Video-based triage and early intervention provide an opportunity in occupational therapy that has not seen a lot of use. This case study explains the technological setup, practical execution, and results.
There are many advantages to telehealth for triage and early intervention:
•injured workers get assessed and treated almost immediately post-injury ensuring they get the right advice in a timely manner – no matter where they are,
• their supervisors get immediate advice as to whether a worker has to stop working or what types of efforts to avoid when continuing to work, and
• the employers save on lost time and workers’ compensation injury claims.
Biosymm is one of Australia’s largest occupational physiotherapy providers specialising in early intervention injury management and ergonomic risk reductions. The company works with major retail, industrial, mining, rail, and pharmaceutical clients, many of whom operate in isolated areas across Australia. A mixed in-person and online service is provided. To make this work for the clinicians, Biosymm have integrated video consultation bookings into their practice management software. Availability is checked across all their clinicians across all of Australia and New Zealand when a patient seeks to make a booking and the appointment is immediately scheduled right into the clinician’s calendar. For the patients and employers, Biosymm have developed a branded mobile application that allows workers to join a video consultation through devices available at their workplace.
Since implementing video consultations for their clients, Biosymm have achieved more than a 98% stay-at-work rate compared to an industry average between 40% and 60% (WorkCover Queensland Statistics 2015/16).
Telehealth is a valid and successful means of delivering occupational therapy which is vastly underused.