What Are You Looking For?

The Real Value of Injury Triage 

the real value of injury triage

Many organizations utilize injury triage to help their workers receive the right type of care for their injuries, no matter where or when they work. By calling in to a triage line, workers who may not have immediate access to onsite care receive skilled evaluation of their condition — often by speaking directly with a nurse — so they can receive the appropriate type of care. 

Here’s what you need to know about the true value of injury triage and how it can benefit your organization. 

Understanding Injury Triage 

Injury triage lines offer injured workers easy access to professionals who can help assess their condition following a work-related injury. Rather than every worker going offsite to an emergency room or urgent care facility, or relying on a manager with no medical knowledge, injury triage helps the worker get appropriate care based on evidence-based protocols. 

This service is utilized by employers of all sizes. It may be an organization’s main occupational health offering, or it may be part of a larger program that’s used to cover workers on odd shifts, or who may not be onsite due to travel. 

An injured worker (or another party) calls the triage line and is connected with a trained injury triage nurse. The nurse takes details of the worker’s condition and the circumstances of their accident, entering the information into a proprietary triage program.  

Based on the answers the caller provides, the nurse makes one of three major types of care recommendations for the worker: 

  • First aid: The caller is walked through the process of rendering first aid to treat the worker’s injuries and the worker may be told they can return to their duties immediately. This is for non-emergent conditions that likely don’t need in-person evaluation. 
  • Follow-up care: The worker is told to seek follow-up care, typically with their primary care physician, either within a number of hours or days. This is for non-emergent conditions that should still be evaluated by a medical professional in person. 
  • Immediate care: For emergency situations or those situations that require immediate in-person medical evaluation, the worker is routed to the appropriate medical facility for their needs. This may include calling 911 for an ambulance or helping the worker find the nearest emergency room or urgent care facility.  

Injury triage nurses often follow up with workers via phone a day or more following their initial call, checking on their condition and the treatment they received. If it’s determined during this call that the worker needs additional care, the nurse helps them find an appropriate medical facility that’s in-network with the employer’s insurance plan. 

Benefits of Injury Triage for Employers 

Partnering with an injury triage provider offers many benefits for employers and their employees. 

Decreased Delay in Assessment and Treatment 

The sooner injured workers receive care, even first aid recommendations, the better their outcomes.  

When an injury is left unassessed and without proper treatment, it may heal incorrectly or the worker may injure themselves further. Even a small cut, if left uncleaned and uncovered, could develop an infection that leads to the worker needing time away from their duties. This increases their recovery time and time away from work, reduces the chances they will make a full recovery and increases your costs. 

If a worker receives skilled injury triage soon after an incident, they can receive appropriate treatment more quickly. When their injuries are treatable with first aid, this care can be immediate and they can return to their duties. 

For those instances where a worker requires offsite care, they can be sent to a facility that will offer the level of care they need. The injury triage nurse also forwards notes of the worker’s accident and current condition to that facility prior to the worker’s arrival, speeding up their access to care. 

Injured workers also feel less confused about where to go to receive care, alleviating a frequent concern for workers. They report higher satisfaction overall with the care they receive following a work-related accident and feel that their employer cares about their health and wellbeing. 

Reduced Costs and Lost Productivity 

Sending every injured worker to an emergency room is impractical and expensive. Even a short wait for offsite care can mean hours away from work, even for minor injuries. Reserving this level of care for those workers who truly need it produces the best outcomes for injured workers and helps employers reduce their costs. 

If an injury triage nurse assesses a worker over the phone and determines they only require first aid, or that they can wait until the following day to be seen by their primary care physician, this helps you avoid the cost of their care, the lost productivity for sending that worker offsite and the workers’ compensation claim that may result from the offsite encounter. 

Improved Return-to-Work Rates 

When workers receive care appropriate for their condition, their chances of returning to work more quickly improve.  

For those workers who only need basic first aid, their time from injury to returning to work is minutes rather than hours. And when workers do require offsite care, ensuring they receive the right type of care for their needs speeds up their recovery and, as a result, decreases the time they are away from work.  

Not only does this improve your costs related to on-the-job injuries, but it also improves worker morale. Workers who are removed from their duties due to injury face a whole host of potential complications and co-morbidities. 

A 2019 study published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine found that a workplace injury significantly increases an individual’s risk of death by suicide or overdose. Other studies found that an on-the-job injury increases rates of opioid use and depression, with depression being one of the most common consequences of a work-related injury. 

The faster your workers are able to return to work, the better their overall physical and mental health. 

Why Injury Triage Is Valuable to Employees and Employers 

In addition to all the above benefits of an injury triage program, there are a number of reasons this type of care is valuable to organizations and the workers they employ. 

Accessible Care and Guidance 

Not every workplace is suited to an onsite clinic or in-person occupational healthcare program.  

Organizations that cannot support an onsite employee health clinic, or that may not be able to maintain a clinic during all hours workers are on duty, can still provide injured workers with experienced care if they are injured. Workers can receive an assessment in minutes, without leaving work, and receive immediate first aid or be sent to an offsite facility that can meet their needs. 

Injury triage expands access to quality occupational healthcare for workers who may not otherwise have access, allowing them to receive care no matter where or when they work. 

Professional Training and Experience 

Injury triage nurses are all trained, experienced nurses who have specialized training in providing telephonic triage.  

They also have access to proprietary software that uses evidence-based protocols to guide the care recommendations they provide. Your workers receive the same type of care recommendations for the same type of injuries no matter what triage nurse they talk to, and you can feel confident that they are receiving recommendations that are medically sound. 

Collected Data Can Improve Workplace Safety 

Your injury triage provider collects data on every call your workers place, giving you access to reports of these calls. 

Over time, the data collected by your triage partner can be used to track patterns in types of injuries and worker outcomes. If you identify that workers whose work revolves around a specific piece of machinery are more likely to call the injury triage line to report injuries, you can assess that machinery to see if a change can be made to improve safety. 

Your Injury Triage Partner 

At Medcor, we offer comprehensive occupational health solutions for organizations of all sizes. With our 24/7 injury triage service, employees who work at all locations, on all shifts and at organizations of all types receive skilled injury assessment and, when necessary, navigation to the right type of care for their needs. See what injury triage can do for your injured workers. Speak with an advocate today.