The Travelers Companies, Inc., reported a 30 percent reduction in the use of opioids among the more than 500,000 injured U.S. employees covered by its workers’ compensation policies since 2015. This has been achieved primarily through the use of the company’s Early Severity Predictor model. The model identifies the likelihood that someone will develop chronic pain – a leading cause of opioid dependency.
Travelers shares the Early Severity Predictor results with the injured employee’s physician allowing them to identify effective treatment alternatives, like physical therapy, and in some cases surgery is avoided to help ensure a safe recovery without the prolonged use of opioids. Since January 2016, surgeries for the company’s workers’ compensation cases have fallen by 25 percent, and those who received alternative treatment methods recovered and returned to work 10 percent faster than those who did not.
“Surgical procedures used to correct common workplace injuries are oftentimes followed by an opioid prescription for pain,” said Dr. Adam Seidner, global medical director at Travelers, who is also an addiction specialist. “Physical therapy and other treatments limit the employee’s exposure to opioids and often produce better long-term medical outcomes.”
The insurer has helped employers reduce medical expenses on identified claims by up to 50 percent since it implemented the Early Severity Predictor model in the beginning of 2015. The company typically handles approximately 250,000 workers compensation claims each year.
Travelers’ in-house pharmacy management program has also contributed to these results. The company’s claim professionals use detailed information gained from training with on-staff pharmacists to assess the merits of requests for pharmaceutical payments and identify the potential for overusing opioids and dangerous drug interactions.
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