Background

The majority of compensation claims following road traffic crash injury tend to be for minor to moderate injuries, which contribute substantially to the overall costs of Compulsory Third Party Insurance (CTP) insurance schemes. Not all of these injuries will require interventions, but in an environment of fixed resources it is essential to ensure that appropriate resources are provided to the most in need. A challenge for insurers responsible for approving rehabilitation funding is to identify those at greater risk of poorer outcomes or protracted recovery. Existing tools are often designed for specific problems (e.g. back pain) and for implementation by health professionals rather than insurer case managers who may not have a background in health. In this study an industry-specific screening tool has been developed.

Aims

A screening tool has been developed based on the UQ SuPPORT* database by investigating which questionnaire items at baseline (at 3-6 months) predict poor physical and mental recovery 24 months after mild-moderate road traffic crash-related injuries. The screening tool is intended to be used by insurer case managers. The screening tool will be evaluated in the inception cohort study. Dr Esther Smits is leading this project.

*The UQ SuPPORT study is the Study of physical and psychological outcomes for claimants with minor and moderate injuries following a Road Traffic crash. Participant recruitment and baseline data collection took place between April 2009 and 2010. Follow up data collection took place at 12 and 24 months. Information regarding the crash, injury and physical (e.g. disability and quality of life) and mental (e.g. depression and anxiety) wellbeing was collected by interview and survey methods.

Progress

A manuscript has been accepted for publication by the journal Accident Analysis and Prevention (August 2019).

Dissemination

  • An additional version of the screening tool was created, using the same methodology, but with return to work (RTW) as the outcome.
  • An abstract regarding this RTW version of the tool has been accepted for oral presentation at the national Australian Physiotherapy Association conference in October 2019.
  • The screening tool will be made available for CTP case managers via the RECOVER website.

Consumer engagement

As part of a Delphi study, an expert panel of CTP injury/case managers, health care professionals and researchers will be provided with a preliminary version of the tool. They will be asked how likely it is that they will use this tool in their practice or research. There will also be an opportunity for the experts to give feedback on the tool and the reason why they would or would not use it.

Who benefits from the research?

The primary beneficiaries are insurer case managers and health care providers who will be able to use the tool in their practice. However, those injured in a road traffic crash will also benefit as the tool may help to direct treatment resources appropriately, which could lead to faster and/or better recovery.