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Wearable Technology and Workers’ Comp

Jan 27 2016, by PEOPLE in Sales

Wearable technology has been skyrocketing in popularity lately. You’ve probably seen some of your employees sporting new wearables that they received over the holidays. The goal of most wearables is to promote and track health and fitness. They are typically discrete, appearing to be nothing more than a bracelet, necklace, watch, or a pair of eyeglasses. However, wearable devices are becoming more comprehensive by the day. Interestingly, wearable technology is expected to play a major role in workers’ comp in 2016 and the years to come. From preventing injuries to quicker recovery times, wearable technology could be the next big thing facing your workers’ comp claims.

Believe it or not, wearable technology can make a lot of difference in the lives of employees with catastrophic injuries. Accommodating employees with catastrophic injuries has been a tricky area in workers’ comp for a while, but wearables can actually help these employees live and work more independently while monitoring their health and safety. The most common types of wearables right now are fitness trackers, which are often worn as bracelets or watches. However, as wearables evolve into things like intelligent prosthetics, severely injured workers will start to see a whole new range of options for success in the workplace. For example, a wearable can help employees with catastrophic injuries perform routine tasks like opening doors or remotely turning on light switches. Wearables can also monitor these employees to minimize any other injuries and the possibility for workers’ compensation claims.

Wearable technology can prove helpful for other types of workers’ comp claims as well. Wearable health trackers are multitalented devices. They can act as an alarm for a medication reminder or prompt the wearer to stand and stretch, get on the scale, adjust their posture, or check on their heart rate. If desired, they can also monitor other vital signs and keep records of food intake and exercise. These features can be invaluable for employees who are recovering from an injury because they can help the employee monitor their body and habits or reveal any issues with compliance. A wearable can detect the incorrect use of work equipment or incorrect posture that could aggravate an injury and therefore slow down the recovery process. Without this monitoring, a short-term workers’ comp claim can quickly escalate into a long-term claim.

As wearables continue to adapt and become more prevalent among the general population, the workers’ comp industry will start to see these devices being used in the workplace to monitor and prevent injury. As a result, workers’ comp issues will start changing and insurers will begin to take wearable technology into account. Some companies have already adopted wearable technology so more regulations regarding what and when wearables can be used for injured workers will develop. This is also a good time for employers to start gathering more information on popular types of wearable devices and how they can be used to prevent injuries, ensure compliance, and assist in recovery. Your workers’ comp claims may start to look very different if wearable technology starts to take off in the workplace.