Clients Deserve Options
By James Landsman
Injury prevention solutions come in all shapes and sizes. They depend on numerous factors, including the characteristics of the injuries, the type of work, the work environment, the number and distribution of employees, budgets, and most important—the client’s goals.
Job demands measurement; pre-employment screens; stretching programs; ergonomics software, assessments, and training; telephonic nurse triage; onsite early intervention; onsite physical therapy; return-to-work screens; and wellness all have their place in the injury prevention spectrum.
Similarly, there are a variety of professionals who can help clients avoid injuries and reduce related costs. Ergonomists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, athletic trainers, exercise physiologists, kinesiologists, and physical therapy assistants can all play a role depending on their training, experience, and the service to be provided.
Finally, how and where a solution is provided may be more important than the solution itself. The solution, number of employees at a worksite, and logistical challenges may dictate whether it is better to work with full- or part-time onsite professionals, at local clinics, or through remote support. In some cases, the best option may be to simply train the client’s employees to provide the solution.
Different solution options are more or less applicable based on the situation. The professional who delivers the solution will have a tremendous impact on quality and cost of the service. Delivery options also has significant impact on program cost, but possibly more important, on the ease of access and use. All of these are very important to consider.
We also believe it is inappropriate, if not unethical, to promote a solution just because it is your primary product or service, and not because it is right for the client or the situation. Providing clients with options helps us focus on their needs and not our own.
From our experience and a practical perspective, we offer the following advice:
- Be wary of someone promoting pre-employment physical function screens if you don’t have an early seniority musculoskeletal injury report pattern.
- Be wary of someone offering to implement a pre-employment physical function screen program without a requirement of a thorough Job Demands Analysis.
- Be wary of someone who tells you ergonomics and trained ergonomists are the only right solutions.
- Be wary of someone who tells you a physical therapist or athletic trainer is the only right solution.
- Be wary of someone who doesn’t understand the value of ergonomic principles and tools.
- Be wary of someone who tells you that using software eliminates the need for human contact.
- Be wary of someone who tells you that you need a full-time onsite service provider, when a part-time or an as-needed service option better meets your needs.
Most important, be wary of people and groups who cannot explore and discuss the costs and benefits of various solution options, especially for those they don’t provide. If they are unable to do so, the gravitational pull of their agenda and bank account may draw you to a place you do not want to be.
If you want to have a broad, professional, and honest discussion about your injury prevention program options, please contact us.