Behavioral risk factors can delay recovery because the person is dealing with fear, passivity, catastrophic thinking, perceived injustice, or lacks the necessary coping skills. These particular risk factors can delay recovery or returning to work and are known as Yellow Flags.
The Biopsychosocial model explains the development and progression of health conditions better than a biomedical or psychosocial model alone. When biopsychosocial conditions impede recovery, iRECOVER® can help workers to develop the skills necessary to address their emotional reactions and positively impact their behavior and improve their ability to recover from their medical condition.
iRECOVER is a voluntary coaching intervention developed by The Hartford to help our claimants regain control of their recovery and help them address aspects of their life that may be affected by their disabling life event. As an example, our life coach can help an individual who exhibits fear avoidant behavior which means they are limiting their activity because they are experiencing pain. An individual would be provided tools to help them with activities that cause them pain as well as an understanding of whether the activity is causing them harm.
The Hartford by using its advanced data analytics has developed innovative solutions to help workers regain the function they had before an injury or illness. Understanding the drivers of disability has guided a text mining technique which allows us to look for psychosocial, co-morbid medical conditions, and other risk factors in individuals likely to result in delayed recovery. By combining this early identification tool with a growing toolkit of interventions, we are finding new ways to help individuals restore their lives after an injury or illness.
Figure 1 depicts a number of elements that need to be considered while focusing on the whole person.
Medical literature and research confirm that early interventions designed to mitigate biopsychosocial risk factors can lead to improved outcomes. Our program uses a life coach, workbook, and other tools to develop the skills necessary to address emotional reactions to illness or injury and facilitate their recovery.
By equipping individuals with skills and techniques to assist with the way they think, feel, and act, we help them develop the confidence to take control of their recovery. Program participants become actively engaged in their own recovery process and the tools help them to safely return to their activities and life. This confidence allows them to increase their function and return to work. It is our experience that the reduction of certain risk factors has led to better outcomes such as increased activity and decreased time away from work or the use of opioid pain medication.