Clarify your business practices before investing in new technology
"Too often I find companies will make an emotional buy and get led by a vendor without identifying their processes," said Becky Clegg of Aon eSolutions. "Technology should not drive workflow processes. Rather, take a company's workflow and apply technology to it."
New technologies can foster a more cost-effective claims process by simplifying reporting, speeding up reimbursements and promoting faster return to work. But they won't help the process if they don't fit with your business processes.
Examples of some recent changes include applications that allow managers to view claims in process via mobile devices, such as PDAs and cell phones. Technology can boost the time and efficiency of the claims process wherever a company operates.
"We're not slave to the laptop anymore," Clegg said. "More and more workers' comp companies and risk managers tend to be mobile."
Companies should avoid jumping into new devices and partnering with a technology vendor too soon. Clegg says it's too easy to be swayed by someone who may not even understand workers' comp.
"They do these fancy demos with a 'wow' factor," she said. "In reality, your company -- every company -- still do their processes differently."
Differences among companies' handling of claims center on such things as correspondence, diaries, reserving, making payments, running reports, and return to work. Clegg suggests conducting a gap analysis to identify your best business practices and get clarity on your claims lifecycle.
Attending trade shows can give you an idea of what is available by talking to vendors, consulting firms and other insurers. Doing the legwork on the front end can pay dividends when you ultimately invest in new technology, she said.
"You need to know what you're doing going into it. You need to have control," Clegg said. "Don't let them lead you by the neck. Don't let technology be the tail that leads you."
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
October 28, 2010
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