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Hospitals embrace study on early intervention

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An early intervention program backed by claims manager EML has proved so successful at reducing costs and lost workdays for injured staff that it has been adopted by all NSW public hospitals.

The Work Injury Screen and Early Intervention (WISE) program was run over two years for hospital workers at high risk of delayed injury recovery. It found fewer lost workdays and substantial cost reductions when compared with the usual practice of “stepped care”.

The research was undertaken by EML, University of Sydney researchers and NSW Health, with the findings published recently in the Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation.

“EML invests heavily in outcome driven research to benefit our customers,” Member Benefits Manager Elisa Hitchens said. “To be a part of a research effort immediately implemented by NSW Health is an excellent outcome."

At the end of the two-year post-injury period, the mean lost workdays for the usual-care program was 66.5 days. The WISE program was less than half at 31.7, and showed a saving of just under $7000 per case – or 30% lower costs.

The report also established that fewer WISE program workers reported ongoing chronic pain.