The Travelers Companies, Inc. claims it has had some success reducing the use of opioids among insured construction workers it covers.

The property/casualty insurer said there has been close to a 40 percent reduction in opioid use among injured construction workers it has helped. Travelers attributes this to a combination of its Early Severity Predictor model and its comprehensive pharmacy management program.

Early Severity Predictor is Travelers’ proprietary predictive model that helps forecast which injured employees are at higher risk of developing chronic pain, while the pharmacy management program monitors drug interactions, excessive dosing and abuse patterns to reduce the risk of opioid dependency.

Construction sites contain many health and safety risks for workers, with strains, sprains, broken bones and head traumas among the most common employee injuries. All of these can lead to chronic pain, a condition that is often treated with highly addictive opioids. About half of all workers compensation claims related to the construction industry that are submitted to Travelers involve opioid prescriptions, the insurer said.

“Identifying safe and effective alternatives to treat injuries and prevent chronic pain will help injured employees avoid the risks associated with opioids while helping our customers better manage the related medical costs,” Rick Keegan, president of Construction at Travelers, said in prepared remarks.

Travelers’ nurses and claim professionals work closely with at-risk injured employees identified by the Early Severity Predictor model, and their physicians, to develop an aggressive, sports-medicine-like treatment regimen, which often includes physical therapy and other interventions to prevent acute pain from becoming chronic. This approach is particularly significant for the construction industry, where Travelers said its claim data show that injured workers who suffer from chronic pain can be out of work for as much as 50 percent longer than those in other industries.

Source: Travelers