Why employees do not want to see a virtual doctor when they get hurt on-the-job in Michigan.
CNBC published a fascinating article concerning the slow adoption of telemedicine. This is when a virtual doctor is made available through an app or website. Turns out that patients want a human connection when sick or hurt. Lack of awareness and fear of cost were other factors keeping people away from telemedicine.
We also found it interesting that researchers in 2016 tested 16 different telemedicine apps. Virtual doctors misdiagnosed conditions, prescribed unnecessary medications, and some were not even licensed to practice medicine in the state where the patient resides.
Telemedicine has been a hot topic in workers’ compensation for years. Insurance companies are always looking for ways to save money. A virtual doctor seeing dozens of patients from a central location would reduce costs.
Michigan law requires payment of medical treatment but does not let an employee select his or her own doctor for 28 days. This often results in people being sent to occupational clinics. Our experience shows these clinics provide subpar medical care. Employees are routinely diagnosed with minor injuries and quickly sent back to work. A proper diagnosis is not made until seeing their own doctor.
We imagine an awful future where employees must get checked out by a virtual doctor before going to a clinic or hospital. Medical examinations will be done under the gaze of supervisors and undue pressure will be asserted. Employees will be told to get back to work and claims later denied when they follow-up with their own doctors.
Telemedicine could be a game changer for those patients who cannot get to a doctor’s office. However, additional rules must be implemented before it rolls out for employees hurt at work.
Michigan Workers Comp Lawyers never charges a fee to evaluate a potential case. Our law firm has represented injured and disabled workers exclusively for more than 35 years. Call (844) 201-9497 for a free consultation today.
Photo courtesy of Creative Commons, by NEC Corporation of America.