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Mitchell International, Inc., headquartered in San Diego, California, delivers smart technology solutions that simplify and accelerate claims handling and repair processes, driving more accurate, consistent and cost-effective resolutions.

The company announced the results of a survey of workers’ compensation professionals in the U.S., revealing how the COVID-19 pandemic has influenced technology usage in the industry.

The survey results show that the industry has rapidly increased its technology adoption in the last year, with more than 50% of respondents saying they adopted telemedicine during the pandemic. Forty percent of participants said changes and pressures related to the COVID-19 pandemic are the main driving factors for the increased pace of technology adoption in the industry today.

Looking ahead, the majority of respondents overwhelmingly believe that telemedicine (35%) and predictive analytics (35%) are the technologies that will have the biggest impact on the industry within the next 5-10 years, followed next by mobile coming in at a distant third place (8.5%). Respondents believe the most valuable applications of telemedicine – driven largely by a rising need for remote healthcare – will be for provider visits (54%). They also reported that they foresee predictive analytics being used best for claim triage, severity or reserving (35%).

In a similar survey conducted by Mitchell in 2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic began, respondents foresaw telemedicine as having the most significant influence on the industry (32%), but reported artificial intelligence (30%) as the second potential most impactful technology and ranked predictive analytics (20%) in third place.

The workers’ compensation industry has greatly benefitted from technology innovation in recent years, but the need to enable the continuity of care has brought explosive growth in new technology adoption as a result of COVID-19,” said Shahin Hatamian, senior vice president of product management at Mitchell. “The past year has only reinforced the trends our annual surveys have tracked in recent years, highlighting the rising importance of technologies that can automate manual processes and enable faster and smarter decision making.”

Mitchell’s survey also uncovered the biggest claims challenges experienced by workers’ compensation industry professionals. Almost one-quarter (22%) of participants ranked adapting to challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic as the top obstacle their organization is facing today, followed by workflow efficiency (19%) and cost pressures (18%). Other hurdles reported include return-to-work time, employee turnover, IT budget, keeping up with regulatory changes, and pharmaceutical management.

“As companies continue to focus on stabilizing and improving their businesses in the coming years, they will be seeking workflow efficiencies and determining ways to lower costs, to help injured employees return to the workforce even quicker,” said Hatamian. “We foresee a continued focus on automation, analytics and workflows to maximize care and improve outcomes.”

Mitchell surveyed nearly 100 workers’ compensation professionals at a range of companies, including insurance carriers, third-party administrators, public entities, brokers, and managed care and risk management organizations.