For many employers today, management of the direct and indirect costs of absence and the need to improve employee productivity are critical competitive issues. More effective absence management has become a key initiative.
As a result, integrated disability management (IDM) is gaining more recognition as a beneficial option that can help employers streamline disability, workers’ compensation, and absence programs; improve tracking; ensure regulatory compliance; and enhance the company’s productivity and bottom line.
Advantages of an IDM program
By combining all types of disability, leave of absence, and workers’ compensation under one IDM program, companies can establish a single source for claim intake, improve the overall employee experience, manage both occupational and non-occupational disabilities more effectively, and view comprehensive absence data in one reporting package.
In an integrated program, coordinated leave and disability management activities can avoid duplication of effort and save time and resources. Contacts with the supervisor and human resources team can be simplified, reducing interruptions and conflicting information. Redundant communications with multiple administrative vendors for medical information can be eliminated. When benefits are coordinated, employees receive accurate, timely payments.
Effective integration also means that absence and lost time data and information can be defined, collected, and managed across all benefits through a single control point. This helps companies better target areas to improve productivity and reduce costs – key factors that can enhance their ability to stay competitive.
IDM today and an emerging IDM, health, and productivity vision for the future
Integrating the core services of disability management (occupational and non-occupational), leave, and absence management is a consideration today for more employers. Achieving a high-functioning IDM program will take time investment by the employer team, in addition to thoughtful implementation with the right vendor partner. Using change management strategies to set the stage for the employer’s new approach is often beneficial for success.
Some employers seek an even broader, holistic approach, using referral linkages between disability processes and prevention, wellness, and health management programs. This strategy, which is considered an “emerging vision,” optimizes the impact of health and disability programs in order to achieve better overall health and productivity of employees.
Is IDM the right strategy for your company in addressing the impact of absence? For streamlining processes and improving employee customer services? Are the core elements of your program well-aligned for effective disability and absence management? Does your organization’s long-term view include a more holistic approach – by linking prevention, wellness, and healthcare management techniques more closely with disability management?
If your company has been thinking about how to better manage and improve your absence and disability programs, Sedgwick’s recently published whitepaper on Integrated Disability Management may have some information and insights that can add value to your evaluation process. Our overview looks at some of the challenges of disability and absence management today, as well as the advantages and value of IDM. It offers a high-level view of the core elements and services of an IDM program, sketching out a broader emerging vision of integrated health, disability, and productivity management.
Denise Fleury, SVP, Disability and Absence Management