When Ohio’s Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) launched the Internet-based Dolphin Project four years ago, its potential for acceptance was reportedly debatable.
After all, this tool was a first for workers’ compensation not only in Ohio, but also across the nation. While the e-business initiative was designed to revolutionize the state’s workers’ comp system and bring the bureau’s tools and services into the businesses and homes of Ohioans, some were reportedly skeptical.
Now, after BWC received the 100,000th claim online, there’s reportedly no question – ohiobwc.com has become an integral part of Ohio’s workers’ comp system.
“The success of the Dolphin Project is the latest example of Ohio’s efforts to remain a national leader in workers’ compensation,” Gov. Bob Taft said. “Providing a high-tech tool that’s continuously available to Ohio’s businesses and injured workers has improved service, cut costs and reduced red tape. This is an important tool that improves Ohio’s business climate to attract and retain jobs in our state.”
James Conrad, administrator and CEO of BWC, agrees.
“By providing our core services online and giving our customers what they’ve asked for, we have improved the efficiency with which we handle claims, get workers treated and return them safely back to work,” he said. “We will continue to look to technology as a means to make Ohio’s workplaces the safest in the nation while controlling costs for the state’s employers.”
Since its launch in November 2000, the increase in usage of ohiobwc.com has reportedly been substantial. BWC’s online users have filed more than 34,000 claims online through October 2004; that’s more than three times the number filed in 2001.
In addition, while total claims continue to decrease statewide due to Ohioans working safer, a greater percentage of first reports of injury, or FROIs, are being filed through BWC’s Web site. In 2001, less than 5 percent of claims were submitted via the Internet; two years later, that number jumped to more than 13 percent. And with 34,000 claims filed online this year through October 2004, that figure is expected to increase once again.
Not only are customers using ohiobwc.com with greater regularity, but the Web site also has reportedly served as a core component in helping BWC increase the speed in which claims are filed. The faster a claim is filed, the sooner an injured worker can get treatment and return to work. In the four years prior to online claim filing, the average lag time was 36.6 days; since the Web site launch in November 2000 through today, that figure has dropped to 20.5 days.
BWC’s Web site, ,b>ohiobwc.com, has helped Ohio’s employers beyond allowing workers to file claims. In 2001, nearly $1.5 million in premiums were paid online; however, that figure skyrocketed in 2003 to more than $200 million, a total that will likely be exceeded in 2004.
In addition, more than 20,000 participants have registered for educational conferences such as Workers’ Compensation University and The Ohio Safety Congress & Expo online. Finally, information on ohiobwc.com about the Premium Discount Program Plus, Drug-Free Workplace and Transitional WorkGRANT$ has reportedly helped to increase participation in all of these cost-saving safety programs.
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