Helping Employees Return to Work Healthier and Happier

Helping Employees Return to Work Healthier and Happier

Psychosocial or mental health conditions can complicate and delay the recovery process for employees with a work-related injury or illness.
Mary Nasenbenny
Mary Nasenbenny, Chief Claims Officer, The Hartford
While workplace injuries and illnesses are generally associated with physical issues, the presence of psychosocial or mental health conditions may complicate the healing process. These factors can delay recovery for injured or sick employees.
To identify the psychosocial conditions that may risk employees’ safe recovery and return to work, The Hartford invested in a combination of:
  • Sophisticated text mining
  • Natural language processing (NLP)
  • Data analytics tools
Other insurers are leveraging similar technologies, but we have a distinct advantage. We’re one of the country’s top two workers’ compensation insurance (WC insurance) carriers and top two group benefits providers.
With a history of more than 200 years of service, we also have access to vast amounts of data. We analyze claims data to improve outcomes, understand recovery issues and identify trends when an intervention may be needed.
“We have this rich information related to claimant injuries, treatment protocols, expected durations and barriers to recovery,” said Mary Nasenbenny, chief claims officer at The Hartford. “We’re able to harness this data endowment and identify opportunities to take specific actions that enhance claimants’ ability to return to work as soon as safely possible.”

Looking for Possible Clues Delaying a Return to Work

One opportunity The Hartford explored is recognizing the presence of psychological issues, like depression or anxiety, that may impede physical recovery. In combination with social challenges, such as loneliness or the fear of reinjury, these psychosocial issues significantly delay recovery. To prevent this possibility, we programmed our text mining, NLP and data analytics to identify these warning signs.
“We use multiple layers of technology to extract information from unstructured data like claim adjuster notes, medical records and recordings. We then integrate this information with structured data typically collected during the claim process,” Nasenbenny explained. “Using text mining and data analytics, we scan our claims daily, looking for more than 400 different concepts suggesting the potential for a delayed recovery.”

Interventions Supporting Recovery

Once this potential is unearthed, a multitude of recovery sources are identified to rapidly intervene and provide personalized support. These sources include:
  • Experienced clinicians
  • Coaches
  • Behavioral health specialists
  • Psychologists
  • Pain management experts
  • Vocational case managers
  • Physical therapists
In cases involving injured or ill employees with a range of psychosocial issues, a team-based response is especially needed.
For example, if an injured or ill employee exhibits depression and sleeplessness in addition to having a comorbidity, like hypertension or diabetes, it puts the person at risk of a prolonged and complicated recovery.
“Our data indicates the claim for someone with a fairly straightforward physical injury who has a range of unidentified psychosocial issues can take up to eight times longer to resolve – without timely intervention,” Nasenbenny said. “Our substantial investments in analytics to leverage decades of workers’ compensation and group benefits data has allowed us to quickly spot these claimants and ensure they receive the specialized support for a smooth recovery and safe return to work.”

The Importance of a Successful Return to Work

Having a thorough and effective return to work program can help ensure employees recover and come back to their jobs happy and healthy. An effective program will determine how a worker can return to work and aims to keep them working at an appropriate level, despite a medical condition.
Learn more about The Hartford’s WC insurance and its unique services and programs designed to help employees return to work safely and quickly.
La información proporcionada en estos materiales brinda información general y de asesoría. It shall not be considered legal advice. The Hartford does not warrant that the implementation of any view or recommendation contained herein will: (i) result in the elimination of any unsafe conditions at your business locations or with respect to your business operations; or (ii) will be an appropriate legal or business practice. The Hartford assumes no responsibility for the control or correction of hazards or legal compliance with respect to your business practices, and the views and recommendations contained herein shall not constitute our undertaking, on your behalf or for the benefit of others, to determine or warrant that your business premises, locations or operations are safe or healthful, or are in compliance with any law, rule or regulation. Readers seeking to resolve specific safety, legal or business issues or concerns related to the information provided in these materials should consult their safety consultant, attorney or business advisors. All information and representations herein are as of February 2022.
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