By Emma Castleberry
There are many benefits to having an on-site physical therapist, not least of which is a considerable reduction in workers’ compensation costs. Onsite physical therapists have unique experience and specific training that allows them to reduce the incidence rates and expense of workers’ compensation claims.
“It is widely accepted now that utilizing physicians that are better equipped to treat occupational injuries, based on their experience levels and understanding of the job, will have a significant impact on the cost of those claims,” says Bob Patterson, physical therapist and co-founder of Briotix. “A claim prevented is the best way forward. If you can prevent injuries and health maladies that are occupationally driven, then it is a claim that never happened. That is money saved.”
Onsite physical therapists are able to provide more informed, better quality care because they understand the patients and the work environment more deeply than an off-site medical provider.
“We know the work, the workers, and the organization,” Patterson says. “Those three things combine to have a big impact on how the care is provided.”
One way the intimate knowledge of an on-site physical therapist can inform an employee’s care is through the establishment of expectations.
“There is a big psychological impact when you set expectations about recovery,” Patterson says. “If, in the first meeting, we set an expectation for the exact outcome and when we expect it to happen, we remove the barrier to recovery that is imposed by the disability mindset.”
Because on-site physical therapists are so familiar with the nature of an employee’s injury and the specific demands of the patient’s job, they can estimate healing times more effectively. The clarity of this expectation can have a dramatic effect on an individual’s recovery by helping the employee avoid feeling defined or overcome by their injury.
Additionally, the implementation of a physical therapist on-site opens the door to on-the-job recovery for employees. If they are present, physical therapists can monitor an employee’s participation in work activities and even utilize their work as part of the recovery process.
“We are able to address the physical layout of their work area so we aren’t putting strain on the body part, or we can modify the strain so that it is healthy for the injured body part,” Patterson says. “In this way, we can actually keep them on the job while recovering.”
Shortened recovery times and on-site recovery have an exponentially positive effect on workers’ compensation costs for the entire company.
“With onsite physical therapy, the employee sees that that their cohorts and colleagues are coming back to work quickly or never leaving the job during recovery,” Patterson says. “Having the physical therapist on site, providing that type of care, really sets the expectation and affects recovery times.”Physical therapists are a popular choice for onsite services because they are highly effective in an onsite role. By setting clear expectations and allowing for on-the-job recovery, physical therapists can dramatically reduce workers’ compensation costs and ultimately save money and time for your company.