Injury Mapping for the Future of Workers’ Compensation

When a map is made of a specific area, future travelers can navigate that area with much greater ease. Think about how often maps are used today. When was the last time you referred to a map to reach your destination?

Many fields of medicine already use maps to trace specific functions of the human body and mind. One area that remains uncharted however, is that of injury and recovery. There is no current map that guides a doctor and their patient from the moment they got hurt to the moment they’ve recovered to the best of their ability.

RateFast has created Injury Mapping to do just that. Injury Mapping is a dynamic, ever growing resource which projects estimated recovery date of an injury, while providing key information for treatment in the process.

More data means more accuracy

When considering the great discoveries of the world, it’s a shame to imagine which opportunities were lost because some travelers had a bad map.

We can’t assume that the path to recovery for one injury will follow the same pattern of five similar injuries. However, when compared to five thousand injuries, larger trends develop. A large sample size establishes visible similarities which give the physician a roadmap to work with when determining prescription of medication, projecting the date of MMI (Maximum Medical Improvement), and so on.

When a workers’ comp impairment report is made in RateFast, metrics of that injury are submitted to the Historic Accurate Dataset, which contains information aggregated from similar injuries sustained by other patients. Each recorded injury contains data, such as recovery time, examinations and diagnostic tests used, allowing us another point to graph. The Historic Accurate Dataset grows and becomes more and more dynamic with each injury submitted.

More and more input of these minute observations may begin to reveal a wider variety of patterns, bringing light to new discoveries about recovery in body systems which could be documented and published, benefitting the science of medicine for generations to come.

Work comp doctors have a uniquely detailed perspective on injuries

Workers’ compensation has given me the opportunity to track the recovery of injury and certain diseases with a scrutiny that many physicians, even in specialty fields, do not routinely monitor. Work comp injuries require a holistic understanding of the injury which monitors everything from the physical distance an injured limb can extend, to specific ADLs (Activities of Daily Living) that are impacted by the injury or illness. These parameters are determined by the AMA Guides 5th Edition.

This is because it is the prerogative of the work comp insurance adjuster to make sure that what they owe the injured worker is proportional to the severity of the injury. Insurance companies have their own doctors who review the work comp reports in order to check the work of the PTP (Primary Treating Physician).

To over-simplify, you have to look a lot closer at an injury when a third-party is going to be paying for it.

A foundation of excellence

Ptolemy’s maps revolutionized world travel, commerce, and conquest, by creating a more vivid picture of the world than ever before, but his works weren’t his alone. His maps were built upon the successes of the data collected by those who preceded him. As you could imagine, Ptolemy could only reference maps that were proven to be accurate and trustworthy, in order to make use of them in his work.

By this same token, use of Injury Mapping can only increase in accuracy if the data that is being mapped is accurate to begin with. This is why injury data must be heavily scrutinized before being added to the pool for future use. It has to ‘pass the test’ so to speak.

In order to do so, only impairment reports that are 95% accurate or above will be entered into the Historic Accurate Data-set. Anything short of that is canned.

The map is not the territory

500 miles on a map might measure out to the length of your finger, but 500 miles in real life is 500 miles. This includes the topography of the trip, the weather, cultural varieties, and other unforeseen events that a map cannot prepare a traveler for.

Injury mapping is intended as a series of guidelines, instead of the answer to all the questions regarding the claim. In essence, it is meant to be used as a very experienced peer who offers advice, but not final decisions. The experience and quality of care that a physician brings to each patient cannot be represented by any map, and at the end of the day, it is their observations which will be seen by the adjuster and other stakeholders.

Haphazard assumptions by physicians who are crunching time is enough of a problem as it is. In my experience, doing so actually lengthens a claim when the adjuster, whose job it is to scrutinize the claim more heavily than any other stakeholder, calls a prediction or an apportionment into question.


Using Injury Mapping to build upon a foundation of painstakingly detailed observations will result in a revolutionary tool that benefits far more people than just those in workers’ comp. I predict that all disciplines in medicine will soon create similar databases that will help to create a larger network of tools, creating a matrix of virtual assistance for all physicians.

As a metaphor, topography is a separate discipline from cartography, but the marriage of the two has allowed for the safe passage for anyone from hikers to pilots.

It’s okay to be all over the map, because you can still use it to find your way.

For more information

If you would like to know more about Injury Mapping, visit our blog linked here. Come down to our podcast as well where we discuss the developments of Injury Mapping and how it integrates into the RateFast software suite.

By the way, our service RateFast Express writes your impairment reports for you. Try RateFast Express today!

Would you like to quickly make workers' compensation a more profitable and streamlined part of your medical practice? We've got you covered. Click here to check out RateFast Express.

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