July 2015 – Measuring the confidence to return to work!

The concept of ‘Work Is Healthy’ is an excellent expression of the self-esteem boost that any individual will get when they return to gainful employment. However, not all individuals are created equal, surprisingly, and other factors may weigh against this motivation to return to work. The ‘disability mindset’ is often referred to as the opposite of ‘work is healthy’. When individuals have been battling against health issues, there are other factors that can add to the strain: job loss (as many on LTD will experience) and difficulties getting medical care – why would they risk getting back in the job market? Losing their disability benefits, and putting themselves into a stressful situation again? Do they have the self-confidence to return to work?

A vital tool for disability and worker’s comp insurers is a measure of self-esteem, to help separate the medical issues from the psychological issues and assist in the return to work process. Trying to better understand the complex interplay between the physical healing process and the mental health issues is hard using traditional methods.

Claim managers in conversation with an individual, use their own judgement and experience to access the motivation of the claimant. This relies heavily on the experience of the claim manager and their intuition. By its very nature, the feedback from the claimant is not captured or recorded for future use, other than a few brief comments that maybe added to the claim notes.

The Claim Lab provides tools that can be used to assess the self-esteem of an individual and assess their perspective of their functional recovery from a condition or injury. An online questionnaire is combined with multi-variable regression models to assess the association between the score recorded from the questionnaire, and the eventual return to work of the individuals, or not as the case may be. The questionnaire is completed via an interview with a claim manager or self-serve via a web page.

This type of approach has been validated by the work of Dr Jason Busse, whose SPOC questionnaire was used for pioneering research in healthcare to measure the self-esteem of patients. Dr Busse found that scores from such questionnaires were a far more powerful predictor of recovery than age, gender, diagnosis, smoking status, or presence of comorbidities.

The Claim Lab believes that such tools represent a significant area of innovation in the insurance industry, and has invested in a technology platform to support this type of data collection function.

If you would like to learn more about this exciting topic, please contact us at… info@claimlab.org

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