Risk Insider: Jerry Poole

Information Dominance vs. Information Overload

By: | December 1, 2014

Jerry Poole is president and CEO of Acrometis, a PA based company offering claims processing platforms designed specifically for workers’ comp. With more than 20 years in the workers’ comp industry, Jerry is responsible for managing internal operations at the company. He can be reached at [email protected].

Before I entered the world of workers’ comp, I was an electrical engineer at Boeing helping to create America’s next generation of combat aircraft.

While the connection between military flying machines and claims operations may not be immediately apparent, there is a definite correlation between fighter pilots and claims adjusters. Both need key information to do their job effectively, but their performance suffers if we overload them with information.

In the cockpit or the claims shop, we need to employ specific strategies of information dominance to give the person the greatest chance of success in their mission.

Information Dominance

Former F-16 pilot, USAF Academy graduate and Lockheed Martin cockpit designer Dr. Michael Skaff uses a strategy of “Information Dominance” when designing a cockpit.  Information dominance is the act of determining which information is of most importance for the immediate task at hand. This is critical in the cockpit and the adjuster desk.

For an adjuster trying to decipher a claim and attempting to reduce the claim duration, there is a wealth of information available to them. From bill data, physicians’ notes, historical data, outside opinions and even social media — each of these items can lead down a rabbit hole of more information, which usually serves to overwhelm the adjuster instead of providing more clarity.

Adjusters spend their day “working the files” rather than “working the claim.”

Use This Approach to Streamline Adjuster Workload

To make adjusters more effective, we need to employ a strategy of information dominance, working to provide the adjuster with the information that is most important to the immediate tasks at hand. This means leveraging systems and truly understanding specific adjuster tasks to filter the wealth of information into just the pieces needed to successfully complete that task.

Information overload extends well beyond the adjuster, and similar strategies of information dominance must be taken at all areas of claims operations.

Key information needs to be presented at the right time to the right person who can do something about that information. For example, this means replacing after-the-fact reviews of reserve levels with automatic process stoppages, based upon live data feeds of incoming costs.

Just as a fighter pilot’s cockpit needs to be “mission configurable,” only showing the information needed to successfully complete that mission, so too must the adjuster’s desktop.

For companies where these pieces exist in different places and in different formats, this can be complicated. But taking an information dominance approach is critical to increasing the effectiveness of your entire claims operation in their mission of reducing claim duration.

Read all of Jerry Poole’s Risk Insider contributions.

More from Risk & Insurance