5 THINGS TO LOOK FOR IN AN OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH PROVIDER
1. Quality Medical Care.
There’s no question that the most important aspect of a physician’s job is providing quality care. For this, they need the skills, background and training to make the correct diagnosis and provide proper treatment. Seek recommendations from trusted sources and conduct research on the physician’s qualifications.
2. Clinically-Driven Care Decisions.
The philosophical mindset of the provider is crucial. Look for providers who use clinically-driven care – which addresses all possible findings and objectively determines a diagnosis and treatment plan – rather than patient-driven care, which simply follows the demands of the patient.
3. Injury Treatment Capabilities.
It’s important that the providers in occupational medicine do more than simply triage injured workers. Look for a facility that has the necessary diagnostic equipment on-site such as computerized X-Ray (for limbs, spine, chest and lumbar); slit lamp (for eyes); hearing booth (for ears); spirometer (for lungs); and lab testing. Doctors with advanced injury treatment skills – such as setting non-displaced fractures or performing laceration repairs – can provide care immediately without needing to refer the patient off-site, minimizing unnecessary specialist involvement.
4. Cost Consciousness.
Diagnosing an injury takes many steps, but it is important that doctors think about each diagnostic test ordered to make sure it is appropriate and necessary. Physical therapy is not always appropriate for every patient, and specialists are not always necessary. Additionally, generic alternatives should be evaluated for prescription medicine needs. Using providers who responsibly focus treatment on medically-necessary procedures saves time and money for the patient and the employer.
It’s critical for physicians to communicate and provide follow-up calls to patients and employers – with written documentation so the information is always accessible. After the first visit, the provider should speak with the employer to review the case and provide insight on what to expect. Regular communication ensures alignment between the provider, employee and employer.