There was an unexpected outcome from my last post about Medical Panels. There were comments about whether a particular injured worker support site really represented injured workers and achieved the goal of empowerment for injured workers.
On the one hand it was argued that such sites provide practical useful information to workers to help them understand and negotiate the system, while on the other the argument has been put forward that such sites do more harm than good. Concerns have been expressed that sites can spread misinformation and conspiracy theories and contribute to ‘victim behaviour’.
An almost universal feature of our compensation systems is ‘loss of control’. Any reasonable action that returns a degree of control to injured workers would be expected to be helpful to deal with an injury and the associated stress.
The focus of the Insult & Injury website is to provide a medical perspective on the effects of our compensation system on recovery from injury. The intended audience includes injured workers, doctors and other participants in the compensation systems, but most important of all those organisations and people who design and control the system.
I believe that change is needed at a system level, hence my focus on topics such as improving IME assessment processes, promotion of Medical Panels, improving impairment assessment processes and encouraging support for research relevant to workers compensation.
Personally I am unsure about the best approach to empowering injured workers. Support websites almost certainly have a role, but I am interested in opinions about how they might work best. Better still research evidence about what works best, if there is any!
I hope this provides a forum for constructive discussion.