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The Insurance Journal just published a special report that highlights 10 current workers’ compensation challenges ahead for the industry. One of the 10 that stands out deals with innovation and technology.

According to the report, when it comes to technological innovations, the health care industry’s advancements dwarf anything that’s developed in the workers’ comp industry for years, says Thomas Lynch, founder and CEO of Lynch Ryan and Associates Inc., a management consulting firm for workers’ compensation cost control based in Wellesley, Mass., and publisher of the blog “The P/C insurance industry is very slow to innovate and is lagging behind other industries, as well as other parts of the insurance industry, in adoption and rapid movement to technology usage and innovation,” he says.

In Lynch’s view, the workers’ comp industry is way behind and it must catch up.

“For example, there’s a huge move now in the Veterans Administration called the Blue Button Project, where if you’re a patient you have a portal. You can go in and you can see all your medical records. You can communicate with your doctors. It’s a great back and forth system.” There’s nothing quite like it the workers’ comp industry, he says. “That kind of patient back and forth could really be a benefit in, wellness programs, in claims administration.”

The workers’ comp industry also lags in providing mobile claims reporting technology.”Even now, today, the usual way is that when you have a claim, you’ll go online and file a report online or you’ll make a phone call. Why couldn’t you take out your smartphone, have a voice activated app that could allow you to report directly into your carrier’s system which would, in real time, display for a claims adjuster?” he says. “Why can’t you, at the same time, take a picture of the incident on your smartphone and include that with the report ” the whole claim reported and done in five minutes. We can’t do that now and yet we can do it in other areas.”

“Workers’ comp and the rest of P/C has to get its act together, has to rededicate itself to delighting the customer, to having a dynamic relationship with the customer, and understanding that the customer is the most important thing in its universe,” Lynch says.