How Onsite Physical Therapists Reduce Employee Recovery Times
By Emma Castleberry
Accidents happen. Employees get injured or sick and often miss work as a result. Recovery takes time… and time is money. The longer your employees are off the job because of a recovery—especially if that recovery is part of a workers’ compensation claim—the more money your company is losing.
Rather than having your employee go off-site for recovery, have you considered making their work environment a part of their healing process?
With an onsite physical therapist, recovery and work become intimately intertwined in a way that not only shortens recovery times, but also reduces the chance of future injuries. Bob Patterson, an onsite physical therapist and co-founder of Briotix, explains that when physical therapists have more familiarity with a job’s demands and a patient’s work environment, they can improve their care to address the individual more effectively.
“We’re able to address the physical layout of their work area so we aren’t putting strain on the injured body part,” he says. “Alternatively, we can modify the strain so it is healthy for the injured body part. We can actually keep them on the job while recovering. We’re able to integrate those work site activities simply and seamlessly because we know the work and we know the worker.”
When on-the-job recovery becomes the norm within your company, it impacts the expectations for all future workers’ compensation claims and recovery times.
“With onsite physical therapy, the employees see their cohorts and colleagues coming back to work quickly or never leaving the job during recovery,” Patterson says. “That type of care really sets an expectation and affects recovery times.”
The effectiveness of the onsite model is extremely difficult to match with an off-site doctor. It’s difficult to imagine a treating physician finding time to leave their clinic, meet a patient at their place of employment, analyze that patient’s job, and coach them, let alone doing that multiple times during the course of rehab to reinforce those behaviors.
“It is extremely difficult, from an outpatient perspective, for an off-site facility to integrate those pieces of the rehabilitation,” Patterson says.
Not only do onsite physical therapists reduce recovery times and help employees return to work more quickly, but their presence has also been proven to reduce the incidence of workers’ compensation claims overall. For example, if a company hires Briotix to work 20 hours a week, they might choose to split that into 16 hours of recovery work with already injured employees and 4 hours of claim prevention work. Patterson explains that after a period of 12-14 months, that ratio is reversed. The prevention efforts of on-site physical therapists are so effective that existing claims are reduced to just 4 hours of work each week, while the remainder of that time can be devoted to furthering those successful prevention efforts.
“We’re preventing those expensive musculoskeletal injuries from happening, so post claim work is reduced and prevention is increased,” he says.
Hiring an onsite physical therapist is clearly one of the most effective ways to not only get your employees back to work faster after a claim, but also to prevent claims from happening in the first place, which is good for any company’s bottom line.
“A claim prevented is the best way forward,” Patterson says. “If you can prevent injuries and health maladies that are occupationally driven then it is a claim that never happened. That is money saved.”