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Timing in RTW is everthing - What Next Mar 21st, 2015
Following on from the AIA paper, evidence from industry experts overwhelmingly supports early rehabilitation and RTW programs are a winning combination for all involved. 

Concord General Hospital, Sydney is a self insurer, who in 2003-4 found themselves with a huge number of open claims (~300), and a spate of very difficult cases who went on to have chronic pain syndromes. The organisation felt they were failing injured workers and that something needed to change.

After significant internal investigation, the consensus was that the first 4 weeks after an incident/injury was the answer, – after that you start to lose control! They instigated a rapid assessment and early intervention process, which included an assessment psychosocial risk (i.e. Yellow Flags). The idea was that high risk individuals needed to be identified in the first week/s. Nothing different needed to be done; only it needed to be done earlier. It was also important that a trusted GP was in control of the whole process through consultation and approval.

Along with aggressive acute injury/illness management, return to work planning for high risk individuals was commenced from the day of injury in the form of planning, discussion and communication between injury management co-ordinators, health professionals (GP and Physiotherapist) and employee supervisors.

Key Points of Concord Case Study:

  1. There is a significant difference between the 20% in the “high risk” category and the other 80% who manage pretty well with ‘usual care’.

  2. Psychosocial risk factors (i.e. ‘Yellow Flags’) predict the cost of a workers compensation claim within 48 hours regardless of what or where the injury occurs.

  3. The provision of an early and aggressive assessment and intervention, lead by a trusted GP can reduce costs in high risk claims.

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