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HRMR-blog-MaleySedgwick supports Healthcare Risk Management Week June 19-23
Sedgwick’s healthcare risk management team works alongside healthcare risk managers to reduce risks and improve safety by delivering cost-effective claims, productivity, managed care, patient safety, risk consulting and other services. Taking care of people is at the heart of everything we do. Caring counts.

Providers today are transitioning to a value-based world. Financial rewards are no longer reaped based upon the volume of services provided, sometimes regardless of necessity or outcome, but instead upon positive patient outcomes and pleased consumers. Accountability for patients’ total experience is being vigorously enforced and has risen to the forefront of providers’ responsibilities. Healthcare models are changing to focus more on the health and well-being of populations, rather than on the “break-fix” model of treating individuals primarily when they experience acute episodes of illness. Emphasis is on patients’ clinical, financial and emotional status, as well as their expectations, which are assessed on an ongoing basis. The needs of specific populations and cultures must be carefully considered.

The healthcare organization-provider relationship has also changed. Institutions, once focused on pleasing providers as a strategy for maintaining and growing market share, have shifted gears to become patient-centered instead of provider-centered.

For many providers, this transition is challenging. They must actively participate in cross-disciplinary teams, often as leaders, to implement measures designed to continually improve upon the value, cost and quality of patient care.

New attitudes and new models of care

Value-based reimbursement for services has gradually gained ground, but now is moving ahead full steam. The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) forged the way for value-based payments, laying out specific payment plans for healthcare providers. Plans emphasize clearly that cost control and quality care are necessary in order for payments to be approved. As a result of the sea change focused on value versus volume, providers must change their methods and, most importantly, adopt a new mindset. They must actively partner with healthcare institutions to establish, promote, and practice within a culture of safety. These transformations in business models and ways of thinking require new skills and education. Many providers, anxious to understand the complexities of the new healthcare environment are going back to school, both literally and figuratively.

New roles, new job skills, new insights

The role of “physician executive” is fast becoming one of the most important roles in the healthcare paradigm. Innovative educational programs are preparing physician leaders and other providers to focus upon the importance of quality over quantity, patient safety and process improvement. These programs are often designed to take the provider out of his or her comfort zone by exposing them to the experiences of other industries, such as manufacturing, engineering, finance and even the airline industry.

A very strong focus has been placed on the impact of systems versus individual actions. Healthcare organizations now realize that poor outcomes can be improved when process improvements are identified and acted upon swiftly instead of blaming an individual for a patient harm event. This is not news to risk management, quality and patient safety professionals. However, concepts that promote the reduction of patient harm are not necessarily well-known to others practicing within the healthcare profession. Many clinicians may have seen risk management, patient safety and process improvement as administrative functions secondary to their provision of clinical treatments.

The role of risk managers, patient safety and quality professionals has changed, too, with increased emphasis on demonstrating value and quality. A major responsibility for these professionals is to teach all levels of healthcare workers how to implement safe, standardized and evidence-based processes that enable health interventions to reach those who need them on a timely basis. Proactive, innovative means to accomplish safety goals are imperative. Data collection is important, but the actions taken following the observance of trends and/or system breakdowns make the difference in ultimate outcomes. Herein lie the greatest challenges. Actions risk management, safety and quality professionals must take to help others embrace the value paradigm include the following:

Educate – Share knowledge regarding the science of patient safety, the principles of risk management and methods of process improvement. Multidisciplinary forums, including those used after serious safety events such as root cause analyses, present an ideal opportunity to share knowledge and problem-solve as a team.

Engage – Let team players know “what’s in it for them.” Value-added services are designed to eliminate waste and streamline activities. A more efficient and joyful workplace can equate to happier employees, better communications and better patient outcomes.

Strategize – Help members of healthcare teams and departments set goals through the establishment of benchmarks that support positive patient outcomes. For example, establishing objectives to reduce infection rates can support both patient safety goals as well as financial targets through reduced readmission rates.

Promote – Secure leadership support and make it well-known that providing value to patients is part of the overall mission and vision of the organization. Use social media, newsletters, broadcast emails, job fairs, posters and other means to keep the focus on providing value to patients.

Evaluate – Implement realistic success monitors and use technology to ease the workload as much as possible. Modify measures as changes occur so they remain meaningful and applicable to patient care and workflow.

Innovate – Support new technologies. Innovation is a clinical and cost imperative. Examples of innovations include artificial intelligence, virtual reality, telehealth and biosensors and trackers, to name a few. Innovations that target, track, prevent, monitor, and treat illnesses demonstrate value. Risk management and patient safety professionals can assist in the determination of return on investment when decisions are made regarding the purchase of new technologies by factoring in the likelihood for reduction in patient harm, improved patient outcomes and patient satisfaction.

Celebrate – Create reward systems to recognize providers, staff, teams and departments that are promoting value and achieving established goals and positive outcomes for patients.

Sustain – Build in systems that check for “slippage” in improvements.

The bonus

Risk management, patient safety and performance improvement efforts are bolstered by new mandates to demonstrate value. Now, goals are better aligned, and with the dedicated efforts of healthcare staff working in teams, costs can be controlled, the patient experience will be ultimately positive and outcomes improved – the overarching aim of value-based healthcare.

> Read more from Robin and other professional liability, healthcare risk management and patient safety experts in our Risk Resource newsletters.

Robin Maley, RN, MPH, MS, CPHRM, CPHQ
SVP, Healthcare Risk Management and Patient Safety

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3D laser scanning: Essential technology in forensic science and claims

When it comes to the claims industry, documentation is essential. In order to come to a conclusion regarding the cause of a fire, traffic accident or product failure, it is crucial for forensic investigators to document in a clear and effective manner. Today, technology plays an important role in improving the quality, speed and quantity of evidence collection; an investigation can be concluded with a higher amount of certainty in a shorter amount of time. The use of 3D scanning technology allows investigators to preserve a permanent, digital copy of a scene that can be viewed virtually via computer. Investigators can conveniently observe evidence, navigate throughout different environments, and take measurements as if still onsite.

What is 3D laser scanning?Focus fire 2

There are several 3D scanning technologies available on the market today, and among the most useful for the forensics industry are 3D laser scanners. 3D laser scanning is the process of capturing millions of points of data and converting them into a virtual environment, or point cloud. These point clouds are used to produce highly accurate and realistic 3D computer models for use in many applications.

Unified employs a laser scanner that works by emitting an infrared laser at a surface which is then reflected back to the scanner. The distance from the object to the scanner is calculated by analyzing the phase shifts in the wavelength between the emitted and returning light. This technology is capable of collecting data at a rate of nearly 1 million points per second at accuracies under 2mm at a distance of 1,000ft. In addition to measuring distance, the scanner takes high-resolution photographs which are used to assign a color value to each individual point allowing for the creation of realistic, full-color point clouds.

Why 3D laser scanning?

damaged vehicleAt typical loss sites, investigators must often choose which parts of the scene are relevant to the investigation and then proceed with documentation accordingly. Often, evidence may not be deemed relevant until late in the analysis, at which point the scene or vehicle may have been changed, making measurements impossible to collect. By creating a digital copy of the scene, sensitive evidence can be preserved that may otherwise be compromised over time. Additionally, there are always “missing photographs” from an inspection that may add value to an investigation. This is no longer an excuse. By taking a comprehensive scan of the scene, typically all potential information of interest is captured and available for future use.

Traditional investigations are generally completed using a combination of tape measures, measuring wheels and photographs. Having so many tools can make documenting large, complex scenes in a timely manner very difficult. In contrast, 3D laser scanning provides more complete and accurate information in a fraction of the time. Each and every collected data point can be referenced and measured much more efficiently using specialized software. The scanner can also easily collect dimensional information that is difficult to gather due to sheer size, accessibility or safety concerns.

3D scanning technology has been around for several decades and has widespread acceptance across a variety of industries. A few examples include forensic and criminal investigations, product design and manufacturing, land surveying, medical science, film and video game production, and the documentation of historical artifacts. Companies use laser scanning to increase efficiency, provide faster turnarounds on projects, reduce labor costs, and add value to customer deliverables. Accuracy and speed lead to predictability, which in turn brings about increased profitability.

How Unified uses 3D laser scanning

  • Creation of 3D walk-throughs allowing juries/audiences to be immersed in an environment; witness points of view can be replicated and incidents can be reenacted in real time
  • Complete documentation of complex dimensional information for vehicle crush, building damage and burn patterns
  • Creation of 2D and 3D building layouts, industrial projects and traffic scenes
  • Scans of evidence, such as vehicles or other objects of interest, which can be placed in separately scanned environments to explore hypothetical scenarios
  • Scans used to increase the accuracy of calculations in engineering simulations for accident reconstruction, structural analysis and fires

Investigations have been changed forever thanks to advanced technologies like 3D laser scanning. Efficiencies and advantages can be realized when information needed by investigators is readily available for future use, no matter what happens to the evidence or the scene. If you would like to learn more about different technologies that Unified Investigations & Sciences is using to enhance our investigations, visit our website at www.uis-usa.com or read more in our previous blog posts.

Please feel free to reach out to us with questions and ideas in the comments section – we love to hear from you.

Seth Behrens, P.E., Forensic Engineer and Nic Cheek, Forensic Consultant
Unified Investigations & Sciences, Inc., a Sedgwick company

 

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Can pizza really change lives? (Those of you who can’t live without pizza probably answered with a resounding yes.) This week, a few colleagues and I had the opportunity to visit a very special place where every slice of pizza served gives back to the commuAlpha_Pizzeria_Pizzanity, sparking a continuous circle of change for those on both sides of the counter.

Last April, Sedgwick partnered with an exceptional organization called the Alpha Project, which provides work, recovery and support services to those motivated to achieve self-sufficiency. The organization was working to open a pizzeria that would be housed in, and eventually supported and staffed by the residents of San Diego’s Alpha Square, home to more than 200 formerly homeless individuals.

One year later, Alpha Pizzeria opened its doors to the San Diego community; this week, we helped the restaurant celebrate its grand opening and raise awareness in the local neighborhood by hosting an evening of free pizza and soft drinks, courtesy of Sedgwick. Our San Diego-area colleagues and other friends joined in the fun. We sampled quite a few menu items and can attest that the food is delicious!  This is, in large part, thanks to local Chef Alex Caraballo, who stepped in to develop recipes and a menu that deliver outstanding flavor and quality to the patrons. Watch the video below to hear from Chef Caraballo about how the partnership developed.

Chef_CaraballoWhat truly sets Alpha Pizzeria apart from the competition is its underlying mission to empower people to regain their footing and to live independently and with dignity. The residents of Alpha Square can now learn basic culinary and restaurant skills in the on-site pizzeria and industrial kitchen. After completing six weeks of training, they can either join the staff at Alpha Pizzeria or pursue gainful employment at other San Diego establishments.

At the event, I met Margaret, an Alpha Square resident who is starting the restaurant training program this month. As she shares in the video below, she never imagined she’d be homeless and in need of a place like Alpha Square. Her desire to find a purpose for getting up each day and doing meaningful work is inspiring. People like Margaret affirm the importance of our financial support and commitment to being present at Alpha Pizzeria. The event was a terrific representation of our caring counts philosophy.

We were honored to have a plaque installed in the restaurant that recognizes Sedgwick’s support. Jay Ayala, managing director of our western region casualty team, was on hand to accept the acknowledgement from Bob McElroy, Alpha Project’s CEO and president. Jay was quick to point out that financial support alone doesn’t solve problems; rather, it takes continual investment in helping people to effect change and make goodness happen in a community.

LeviLevi was the first person to arrive at the event and join us for pizza, and hearing his story was among the most moving aspects of my experience there. He came to apply for a position. Levi told me that the Casa Raphael program, also funded and run by the Alpha Project, helped him put his life back together after a string of addictions. He shared that his life is not perfect, but whose is? Levi is in an infinitely better place than before the Alpha Project came into his life; like many others, he talked about how the organization had saved his life and that he will forever be grateful for their care and support.

Everyone who attended was inspired and encouraged by the stories of people like Margaret and Levi. The Sedgwick delegation felt the warmth and love of all those present for the celebration.

I will leave you with a challenge. Wherever you live, there are worthwhile organizations in need of your time and talents. Sedgwick colleagues demonstrate on a daily basis the power of giving back to our communities because caring counts. Give back just one hour per week or month, and you will surely reap the rewards. We must give while we can because, like Margaret and Levi, we may suddenly find ourselves on the receiving end. Pay it forward today; you will be glad you did.

Jonathan Mast, social media director, Sedgwick

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Wdriving-933281_1920-pixabay-when it comes to getting the attention of the media and the public, not many things work better than an unfiltered, celebrity mugshot. When Tiger Woods was arrested on Memorial Day for driving under the influence, his mugshot and the story of his arrest became easy fodder for the media. The man once known for being unstoppable on the golf course was found in a stopped car, asleep in the early hours of the morning. While it is easy to assume that anyone arrested for a DUI with a rough looking mugshot like Tiger’s must have been drinking, this was reportedly not  the case with Tiger. And it may have been hard to believe when Tiger himself dismissed alcohol as the culprit early on after the news broke. Yet according to the police report, Tiger blew a .000 on his breathalyzer. Tiger was not driving drunk. Tiger was driving drugged. And drugged driving can be just as deadly.

While it’s unclear exactly what regimen Tiger was taking or what drugs led to the interaction (some of the drugs listed on the police report are incorrect as they either don’t exist, are amazingly misspelled, or have been off the market since 2004), this appears to be another example of strong medications used in combination impairing one’s ability to drive. The one drug listed on the police report that is currently available by prescription only and recognizable is Vicodin, or otherwise known in generic form as hydrocodone in combination with acetaminophen (Tylenol). Vicodin, a commonly prescribed opioid, is known to cause drowsiness, something that is only amplified when given with other medications like a muscle relaxant (a type of medication commonly prescribed after back surgery which Tiger had last month).

And like many other celebrity stories that include opioid and/or prescription drug use, stories like this can often help illuminate more specific issues connected to the current overutilization problem we are realizing in the U.S. Tiger’s DUI should appropriately point our attention to the issue of drugged driving and the fact that it is not uncommon. A recent report by the Governors Highway Safety Association shows us that for the first time, fatal auto accidents are now more likely to involve drugs than alcohol. Per the report, in 2015, of those fatally injured drivers who were tested for drugs (57%), 43% tested positive for drugs of some kind. Out of those fatally injured drivers who were tested for alcohol (70%), 37% tested positive. And perhaps just as sobering as those statistics may be, is the realization there is no current breathalyzer available to check for someone’s consumption of the various prescription medications that could cause these types of interactions and impair driving. (It is also interesting to note that, of all the discussion that marijuana is a “safer option” compared to other prescription medications like opioids, marijuana was present in roughly one-third of the positive tests for drug use.)

Employers must be aware of how these strong medications, and their interactions, can greatly impact injured workers and their ability to work at their desk or in a warehouse, as well as their ability to drive.  My team  works daily to ensure the injured workers we advocate for are getting the most appropriate medications for their injury, and for the correct duration. The issues of our current opioid epidemic and drugged driving communicate the same message – their impact can easily reach beyond the person taking the medications and change not just the individual’s life and health, but also the lives of their families, friends and communities. For additional information and support resources, visit the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) website. If you have specific drug-interaction questions or observations, feel free to reach out to us in the comments.

Dr. Paul Peak, AVP, Clinical Pharmacy

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quality-1257235_blogTom Peters the business guru, thought leader and author of the #1 national best-seller In Search of Excellence, says “Excellent firms don’t believe in excellence – only in constant improvement and constant change.”

Excellence is something all businesses talk about and aspire to. But how do you achieve excellent performance and results? Now that is a tougher question to answer. One starting point is to identify meaningful performance metrics across your industry that pinpoint and measure the most important predictors of outcomes and to compare or benchmark your performance against your industry’s standards and your peers. Benchmarks can serve as a basic quality measurement tool for improving performance, and thus outcomes. Tracking over time will further allow you to continuously measure your performance, and hopefully improve from one time period to the next.

At the recent Workers’ Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) annual conference, one such industry performance measurement was discussed: the rate of attorney involvement in workers’ compensation cases. Preliminary findings indicated that, among the states surveyed, the median average national rate of attorney involvement in workers’ compensation cases was 36%.

In most instances, when workers are supported and cared for through the workers’ compensation process, they feel less need to seek attorney representation. Non-litigated claims also typically close more quickly and cost less. For these and other reasons, this metric becomes a significant measure of performance as an indicator of care and advocacy for the worker, overall cost of the claim, and the speed with which the injured worker is returned to full function and the case resolved.

Sedgwick has a core philosophy of caring counts℠; we believe in advocacy for the injured worker throughout the claims process. Sedgwick is also committed to industry best practices and takes continuous quality improvement seriously. The Performance360 (P360) team within Sedgwick under the leadership of Darrell Brown, Chief Claims Officer, is charged with measuring performance against standards and leading internal efforts to make continuous improvement in claims performance resulting in improved outcomes for both the injured workers and our client employers.

Using the above example to demonstrate how to benchmark for excellence, the P360 team compared companywide performance for attorney involvement in claims against the industry average to determine how Sedgwick compares to the industry performance benchmark. Sedgwick’s claims colleagues provide excellent service on each claim within our caring counts philosophy and deserve tremendous recognition for their professionalism and commitment to service. This commitment in part directly makes a positive impact on lower litigation rates.

This one example of a benchmark is significant for three reasons.  First, it quantifies how we are currently doing. Secondly, it compares current performance against industry performance, and finally, it identifies a benchmark to begin the process of working to achieve even better results in the future. Continuous improvement means never being satisfied with current performance – you can always do better.

Aristotle said, “Quality is not an act, it is a habit.” Thus, ingraining quality into everything we do is a habit and a reason why the P360 team was created. Much like a garden, quality also requires constant attention and tending, so that it grows throughout the organization.

What are the next steps in achieving quality and excellence through benchmarking? The benchmark standard is known, and the organization’s current performance is also known.  In this case, next steps are to identify what actions can be taken to impact the influencers causing some workers to feel they need legal representation for their claims, and then to take specific actions to address those issues and concerns. Improved quality and outcomes can be tracked and measured by the benchmarking standards. Future benchmarking will provide a new measurement, reflecting our efforts to continuously improve quality and performance outcomes and directly benefit injured workers and our clients.

A closing thought from Jack Welch, who served for more than two decades as the CEO of General Electric when the company’s performance and value increased more than 4,000%. “An organization’s ability to learn, and translate that learning into action rapidly, is the ultimate competitive advantage.” Learning to continuously grow and improve quality and performance is one of the many things we do at Sedgwick.

Jon Wroten, Senior Vice President, Regulatory Compliance & Quality, Sedgwick

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Article2_Circle_Rotation-768x768Most workers’ compensation claims do not start out as complex. They become complex over time due to specific drivers that increase costs and duration. Being able to recognize and resolve these drivers at the right time will help reduce a claim’s likelihood of becoming complex. Read on to learn how to recognize risk factors and pick up some tips on how you can have greater impact in changing the trajectory of potentially complex claims.

Litigation

It is no secret that litigation is a key driver of claim complexity, cost and duration. A California Workers’ Compensation Institute (CWCI) survey shows:

  • Claims with attorney involvement are eight times more expensive
  • Lost time days are three times higher
  • 90% of litigated claims result in permanent impairment

Strategies and tools around litigation avoidance are critical. An injured worker can become anxious about their recovery and the ability to sustain themselves and their family. Being an advocate for the injured employee can make all the difference. Providing excellent customer service, making claim decisions faster, facilitating effective meaningful communication and following through with impactful actions will reduce litigation. Take the time to learn about the person at the heart of the claim and find ways to best address their needs and alleviate concerns. It is important to customize your approach and resources for the individual injured employee.

Opioids

Another well-known cause of complexity is opioid utilization. In an interview with DMEC @Work, Dr. Teresa Bartlett of Sedgwick reported the following data:

  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 78 people die every day from the opioid epidemic
  • Sedgwick’s data shows that 56% of injured workers take opioids and, on average, have a 53-week increase in claim duration when opioids are involved
  • 60% of individuals taking an opioid for 90 days will still be taking them 5 years later

In response to the opioid epidemic, several states have enacted formularies, prospective utilization review, limitations on the first fill and enforcement of tracking systems like CURES and ISTOP. Sedgwick provides an effective approach through our complex pharmacy team in recognizing harmful prescribing trends and working with physicians in weaning injured workers off of opioids. These are all necessary mitigation strategies, but ultimately the best approach is to stop potentially harmful practices at the source. Initial efforts should be focused on utilizing good quality physicians and holding them accountable. Sedgwick’s provider benchmarking and search tool helps in identifying physicians we know will do the right thing by their patients. It also flags physicians that have adverse prescribing habits. We want to line up providers who share the same goal: to help the injured worker receive the best possible care and get them back to being healthy and productive.

Comorbidities

The existence of comorbidities adds another layer of complexity to a claim. A two-year study was recently conducted by Harbor Health on injured workers with obesity, hypertension, history of drug addiction and tobacco use. It found the following:

  • Claim durations increased by 76% for claims involving multiple comorbidities
  • Incurred costs increased by 341%
  • Temporary total disability (TTD) days increased by 285%
  • Litigation rates increased by 147%, and jumped to 224% when addiction-related issues were present
  • Surgical rates increased 123%

An optimal recovery demands early intervention and a holistic approach. Coordination with clinical resources is necessary in understanding and articulating what is related to the injury, what is pre-existing and what is complicating recovery. That is why our team of experts coordinates with all stakeholders and maps out a more holistic treatment plan to secure recovery and achieve our goals.

Psychosocial issues

Much like comorbid conditions, unidentified psychosocial issues will lead to increased costs and delayed recovery. A recent study presented by The Hartford and Optum shows:

  • Duration increases 57% when the injured worker is depressed
  • 10% of claims with psychosocial issues cause 60% of claim costs
  • 97% of depressed patients have a second comorbid condition

We can best support individuals dealing with psychosocial challenges by changing our approach in helping them cope with an injury. As discussed with litigation avoidance, advocacy can have a significant impact in successfully managing their claims. Also, we need to start taking a more holistic approach and focus on the whole person when promoting a return to health. Cognitive behavioral therapy can be a useful tool. For instance, at Sedgwick we utilize the expertise of our team of behavioral health specialists, who play a key role in assisting injured workers with management of psychosocial issues and coping skills during the recovery process.

Understanding the basics of complex claims can help you in accessing the right resources to avoid or mitigate these root causes. If you have questions or comments for our complex claims unit please leave us a comment and we’ll be glad to research.

Eddy Canavan, VP, Workers’ Compensation Practice & Compliance

Read additional Sedgwick thought leader articles on complex claims in our edge magazine:

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The Internet of Things (IoT) is a rapidly emerging field of technological devices poised to affect virtually everyone, every day. Smart homes and industry are moving with expediency into your neighborhood and your business. Are you prepared? Do you know what to look for within your specialized field? In this article, we hope to provide a few examples of IoT to help you effectively navigate your loss.

It’s a similar narrative, one we have all been a part of during an investigation of a clIoT-communication-1927706_1920aim in which the security of the structure was important – you observed a security alarm panel and proceed to ask a few questions. Was the system active? Was it armed at the time of the fire? Did you receive any notifications from your alarm company?

Let’s assume in this investigation, the system was not armed at the time of the incident and the occupant reported that he was not and had not been there for several hours. The investigator documenting the scene, notices an innocent looking, non-descript white box on the wall in the utility room. Do you know what it is, how it works, and if it could provide any useful data?

The image (right) is a cellular alarm communicator that also serves as a smartalarm.jpg hub. It records all activity associated with the structure’s alarm system (and a host of other devices connected to it such as lights, door locks, outlets, thermostats, etc.). For example, right now, the owner can pull up the alarm.com app on their cell phone, tap the history button and see EVERY sensor, whether or not the system is armed. They can see when the front door was open and closed, the back door, a window – in other words, every sensor provides a data point to the system when that particular sensor was opened or closed. This presents you with the knowledge and opportunity to request to see the alarm.com sensor history and see time stamped activity to build a timeline, and remember – this particular system operates on battery backup, so even after power is lost, it is still recording data.

There are other, similar, smart hub systems available such as the popular Samsung Smart Home device. As part of your investigation routine, it is time to include looking for smart hub systems and recognizing the possibility of other smart devices connected to the hub.

smoke alarmThe Smart Smoke Detector

Speaking of other smart devices, there are also smart smoke/CO detectors with wireless communication. They communicate with the other detectors in the structure as traditional detectors; however, with the WiFi connected capabilities they transmit a detection signal to the end user via a dedicated app. The app provides the end user with what was detected and which detector signaled.

While it is unlikely this technology will be encountered with regularity, it is becoming more commonplace and more affordable. Awareness of the technology and its capabilities is the first step to incorporating recognition and utility of this technology on all forensic investigations.

Watch for future posts on the emerging technology of IoT and forensic investigations. If you have any questions or great ideas to share, please leave us a comment.

Michael Hoffman, IAAI-CFI, District Manager
Unified Investigations & Sciences, Inc., a Sedgwick company

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IMG_1147I can honestly say I don’t recall a time I didn’t have a book in my hand as a child. I once got in trouble in fourth grade for reading a book during math. I am pretty sure it made Mrs. Park’s heart happy that I loved to read so much and, let’s be honest, the math gene in my family skipped me, so it all worked out. Reading has shaped my life, as I am sure is the same for many of you reading this post.

Just as we did last year in San Diego, the Sedgwick team attending RIMS 2017 in Philadelphia wanted to leave a lasting mark on the local community. Once again, it was my honor to represent Sedgwick in meeting and learning about the charity we would support this year.

We knew that donating both dollars and books to the Children’s Literacy Initiative (CLI) was the right choice. I hope you will be moved to also find a way to support CLI after reading the statistics and hearing their story. If you visit their website, you will see that the cost of two cups of high-end coffee is enough to provide a high-quality children’s book to a classroom – one step toward improving literacy and combating the numbers they share, shown below.

It’s hard to believe that in 2017:

  • Nearly two-thirds of children in low-income schools are not reading at grade level by the end of third grade.
  • 44 million adults are unable to read a simple story to their children.
  • 1 in 4 children grow up not knowing how to read.
  • 85% of juvenile offenders have problems reading.
  • 60% of all prison inmates are functionally illiterate.

Founded in 1988 in Philadelphia, CLI provides professional development to pre-K through third-grade educators. CLI offers a dynamic approach that provides teachers with training in a wide range of best practices in early literacy instruction that all lead to cultivating a love of reading in their students. During the 2015–2016 school year, CLI services reached more than 40,000 students in 1,666 classrooms across the country.

Frank Grossman of CLI talks in the video below about LEARN, to which Sedgwick’s $10,000 donation will be directed, and about the lasting impact it will have on the lives of thousands of students. LEARN stands for Literacy Education and Resource Network and is a free, online knowledge management system that provides early-grade educators and district partners with modules offering lesson plans, checklists and video demonstrations, fully supporting early literacy professional development. Since its launch late last year, LEARN has already reached 7,673 teachers.

When we asked our colleagues, clients and other friends at RIMS 2017 if they were willing to do something tangible to support this great cause, the overwhelming response was, “Count us IN.” So through additional donations, we were able to purchase more than 100 new books from a recommended reading list provided by CLI – and we were able to deliver and put them in the hands of local students immediately to help spark their love for reading.

After wrapping up another successful business week at RIMS 2017, we left Philadelphia knowing that Sedgwick’s colleagues and partners will be a part of the long-term dividends our partnership with CLI will create. Materials provided by the LEARN modules will make an impact for children who will gain better reading skills now and help open up new opportunities for them far into the future.

“Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him.”

–Maya Angelou

Jonathan Mast, Director of Social Media

 

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dispense-as-writtenThe 2017 National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is Saturday, April 29 from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. The day was established in 2010 by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to help reduce prescription drug risks and promote safety.

According to the DEA, most prescription drug abusers report that they get their drugs from friends and family. Cleaning out old prescription drugs around the home or workplace reduces accidents, thefts, misuse and abuse of the drugs. Drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the United States, with 52,404 lethal drug overdoses in 2015.  Opioid painkillers were involved in 33,091 overdoses, which come to 90 deaths per day. Eight out of 10 new heroin users began by abusing opioids and moved to heroin after they could no longer obtain the prescription drugs, according to a DEA report.

In the past decade, improper disposal of fentanyl patches has caused 24 hospitalizations of children under 2 years old. Of those hospitalizations, 12 were deadly. Participate in the take-back day and you could save a life. The DEA reported that the 2016 National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day was a record-breaking success, resulting in the collection of 447 tons of unwanted medicines across all 50 states. Sedgwick encouraged participation last year and we are again encouraging our colleagues and clients to participate and to spread the words of encouragement for others. In addition, most local police stations now have disposal bins for medications. Pharmacies such as Walgreens have added disposal centers and others have mail-away kits for purchase. Everyone must be accountable for the medications they are prescribed.

On April 29, various local sites will be set up to collect unused, unwanted or expired medications. The collection facilities have the ability to dispose of the drugs in a manner that is safe and environmentally sound.

We encourage you to help increase awareness of this program and take the opportunity to clean up your own medicine cabinet.

To find a collection site near you, use the search tool on the DEA website. You can also contact the DEA’s call center at 800.882.9539 or your local law enforcement agency.

Andrew Newhouse, Sedgwick pharmacist

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Wellness-ZENter-blog-graphicOn Wednesday in the Wellness ZENter, RIMS attendees had the opportunity to hear about a recent study on the work/health relationship. Darrell Brown, Chief Claims Officer at Sedgwick, and Brian Gifford, Director of Research and Measurement at Integrated Benefits Institute, explored the results of this study and what the findings mean for the risk management industry.

They discussed how illness does more to an employer’s workforce than run up healthcare spending. Brian noted that it actually impacts the way a company does business. It is important for employers to recognize that helping employees get healthier is a way to improve business performance. A key finding in our recent survey showed that about 13% of all of the occupational claims that we saw had been in the non-occupational system before. These are people who have had some kind of non-work-related injury that took them off the job. The findings from several studies on this topic show that when you’re dealing with occupational injuries, you’re dealing with people that have a high risk because they have other health issues.

Brian explained that if there is more communication and coordination within an organization, you can start to triage some of the cases and you can almost spot the employees who are at a high risk for a later claim. By the time you’re dealing with a short-term disability claim, you’re likely to see it showing up later on because you’re dealing with a person with health challenges. Brian also pointed out that people who were actually touching both systems had the highest costs in terms of lost productivity and it was higher than those who had multiple short-term disability claims.

They discussed how treating the person no matter how they sustain an injury or illness, and taking a holistic look at them, can improve outcomes. Darrell pointed out the importance of figuring out the best way to treat the person in terms of communication and transferring them from one benefit system to another. If you don’t do those things, friction and litigation can occur and when there is litigation, the costs rise exponentially.

Brian noted that risk managers have a stake in this because of all of the ways in which poor health can impact a person’s performance on the job – their ability to show up day in and day out, their ability to produce high quality work and their ability to avoid disabilities – all of that down the road is going to have an impact on the workers’ compensation field.

Be in the know about everything Sedgwick is involved with at RIMS 2017 by visiting our special website.