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Young: More Tech on the Way

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Expect much more high tech in the workers’ comp world.

Julius Young

Julius Young

That’s one of the main takeaways from my attendance at the California Coalition on Workers’ Compensation (CCWC) 2019 conference at Disneyland. I was there last week to speak as a participant on the bloggers' panel, speaking along with Judge Robert Rassp, consultant Mark Pew, and Bill Zachry.

But I had a chance to attend a number of sessions at the conference, several of which focused on promises that tech can help in claims administration.

A presentation by Jayant Lakshmikanthan, CEO of Santa Clara-based Clara Analytics, focused on artificial intelligence tools. Lakshmikanthan touted Clara’s AI software as a solution to evaluate emerging problem claims, evaluate litigation metrics, to grade doctors, and evaluate defense attorney and application attorney performance.

Clara services are apparently already being used by AON, Tristar, Alaska National and several other industry heavy hitters.

A presentation by Joe Salvati of Arcuity outlined a comprehensive records retrieval and records management service based on blockchain technology. Arcuity claims, “Our records provide complete transparency and remove any doubt as to the authenticity of a document. Our patent-pending process will immediately alert all users of any attempt to edit, delete or otherwise change any part of a record.”

So that duplicate records are not ordered, and different versions of records obtained, the service claims that all the records are in a centralized repository, and multiple users in litigation can access the same authenticated records.

Also presenting was Mike Petrie of Philadelphia-based Social Detection. Petrie’s company offers a service that dives deeply into social media posts and other sources of information on the internet. Explaining that its service links many disparate sources, Petrie claims users can get a much more comprehensive look at a claimant’s internet activity, including accounts where they use an alias or otherwise attempt to mask their identity.

Some of these technologies may work better than others, and some may be in their infancy. But look ahead a couple of years. Data will be increasingly important in workers’ comp.

The irony is that another theme at 2019 CCWC was that attention needs to be given to the quality of the interaction among the employer, adjuster and the injured worker. There needs to be emphasis on giving good customer service. Another panel focused on how adjusters can foster good communication with the injured worker.

Whether an increasing reliance on technology helps build a system that delivers medical treatment and indemnity benefits to deserving claimants, efficiently and with compassion, is unclear.

What is clear is that there are some significant new tools in the toolbox.

Julius Young is a claimants' attorney for the Boxer & Gerson law firm in Oakland. This column was reprinted with his permission from his blog, www.workerscompzone.com.

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