Medical technology, expertise, and understanding have advanced substantially in the past decade. The advancement of medical science provides potential cures and treatments in all areas of chronic and acute conditions. When an employee sustains a work-related injury, workers’ compensation provides access to medical care to help address the injury and get the worker back on the job. Advancements in medical technology can also mean changes in the way workers’ compensation treatment is handled.
One recent advancement in medical technology that can greatly impact workers’ compensation is a blood test that has been recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration. This blood test can help to diagnose mild brain injuries by detecting particular proteins that are released into the bloodstream after such an injury is sustained. The test is called the Banyan Brain Trauma Indicator. The test is reportedly very accurate, with a 97% correlation rate with CT scan results. However, the test must be done quickly, within 24 hours of the injury.
Another new test is called the Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeat, or “CRISPR.” This genetic test will allow doctors to customize medications based on the individual patient’s genetic code. Tailoring medication to the individual patient means that the medication can help target the exact work-related injury sustained by the employee, such as regenerating damaged joint tissue.
There are also efforts being made to develop wearable devices to assist with tracking rehabilitation of the employee. These devices would be worn by an injured employee to make sure he or she is actually doing the physical rehabilitation efforts prescribed by a doctor. This is important to make sure the employee is making important efforts to heal as quickly as possible and get back to work. This would also help doctors in making further diagnoses, as the device could track other statistics, such as heart rate and blood pressure.
FaceTime and Skype are also helping with workers’ compensation. With these technologies, physical therapists can remotely work with their patients. By eliminating the requirement for an employee to go to an office physically, this could cut down on the amount of time an employee will have to be absent from work.
We have experience assisting our clients to understand their options regarding their employee’s workers’ compensation. Contact us today for a consultation.