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3 Ways Telemedicine Can Improve Care for Bloodborne Pathogen Exposure in Workers’ Comp

The risk of accidental needlestick seems set to rise, but telemedicine can expedite care for bloodborne pathogen exposure claims.

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In the U.S. alone, roughly 600,000 health care workers suffer needlestick injuries each year, according to the National Institutes of Health. The true number of incidents is likely higher, since that estimate does not encompass other at-risk employees such as cleaning staff.

“Health care workers in hospitals, dialysis centers and pharmacies are all susceptible to this injury, as are environmental services staff in any industry, who could be accidentally stuck by a needle hidden in the trash or may have to handle materials contaminated with blood,” said Ann Schnure, Vice President of Telemedicine at Concentra.

Errant needles and other contaminated materials carry the risk of exposure to bloodborne pathogens like Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV — all of which require lifelong care.

“Bloodborne pathogen (BBP) exposure is especially stressful for employees because of the fear of the unknown. Exposed workers don’t always know the health history of that person whose blood they are handling,” said Dr. Lisa M. Figueroa, National Medical Director for Telemedicine, Concentra.

With the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, the risk of BBP exposure is about to increase. In order to accommodate demand, more medical professionals may be called upon to administer the shots, increasing the likelihood of accidental sticks.

“Given our previous experience with needlesticks with other things like flu vaccines, I certainly expect an uptick in this as we roll out COVID vaccines, unfortunately,” said Beth Hostetler, Director of Medical Provider Programs at Albertsons.

Fortunately, the pandemic has also fueled the growth of telemedicine, which is well-equipped to address BBP exposure and help exposed patients get the best and fastest care possible. Here are three advantages offered by telemedicine in the management of BBP exposure in workers’ comp.

To learn more about Concentra, please visit their website.

Concentra® is America’s leading provider of occupational medicine, delivering work-related injury care, physical therapy, and workforce health services from nearly 520 Concentra medical centers and more than 150 onsite clinics at employer locations nationwide.

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