Word from the Managing Director

T RM was started from a concept that I had, and a mission that I felt strongly about, for the problems encountered by many injured workers that I had worked with in the past, especially at the Rehabilitation Clinic of Hong Kong Polytechnic University. I could truly feel the problems and frustrations of not only the workers, but also the health care providers, employers and the insurers, from the lack of a good system for managing various aspect of work injuries including physical, psycho-social and occupational.

Based on the belief and observation, TRM was established in 2002. At first, it was just a pure healthcare company providing only rehabilitation services to the injured workers, and beside myself, we had only 3 staff members. Today, we have grown to a 23 staff, multi-disciplinary company including rehabilitation coordination, claims management, injury management, investigation and settlement teams. Our clients include major insurance companies as well as many well-known corporate companies in Hong Kong.

Although it is still a long way to go to be a successful company, I need to take this opportunity to thank all the devoted staff, business partners from insurance field, government agencies and rehabilitation services. Without their support, TRM would not be what it is today. When I look back over the past 6 years, the injury management system that was introduced at the beginning has changed significantly over this period. We have introduced the concept of early intervention and active rehabilitation starting from day one after injury, to high level management for those complicated cases. We have seen some major achievements in terms of reducing the compensation costs and improving the return-to-work status for our corporate client companies. This work has also formed the basis of my PhD studies.

When we look back at the early stages of our development, there were some “bitter-sweet” memories indeed. When we first started to accompany the injured workers to see the doctors in Hospital Authority (HA) hospitals, it was hard to gain the doctors’ trust and cooperation. It’s due to our staff’s enduring and untiring efforts, that we have slowly developed a good relationship with many specialists and doctors in the field. Now we find that there is much more ready acceptance and respectful recognition of our company, when we approach the health care professionals.

At present, some insurance companies have even started referring their cases to us for injury management even at one month after the work injury, rather than 3-6 months post injury as in previous practice. We can see that the cases are being closed very quickly and the cost of compensation has also reduced significantly. The most significant result we found was the number of litigation cases has reduced as well.

The introduction of Voluntary Rehabilitation Program (VRP) by Labour Department has also caused some changes in the injury management system. In past 3 years, the Labour Department has been actively promoting the concept of timely rehabilitation as well as the case management system in Hong Kong. Although it is still a long way to go to be a perfect program, it has also marked the first step by the government to take an active role in managing work injuries in Hong Kong. It also helps the insurers to understand the concept of early intervention and timely rehabilitation.

The introduction of rehabilitation services of private Occupational Medicine Units (OMU) from Hospital Authority is another step to reduce the long waiting list in the government hospitals. The set up of OMU provides the insurance companies a channel to communicate with the hospital doctors rather than waiting 5-9 weeks for the medical reports. At present, we are still taking an active role to develop a better communication and management system, which helps to improve the management of injured workers. The most ideal system is a regular team meeting with the attending doctors and insurers so that the management can be refined regularly.

Furthermore, we have been actively promoting the concept of “Occupational Rehabilitation”. Although it is a very new concept to the insurance companies as well as the employers, some insurance companies and our corporate clients support this concept and welcome the early return-to-work program.

Finally, we have introduced a system of “panel doctors” to our services. These panel doctors are specially selected by our company based on their extensive experience in managing work injuries. This approach will enable the injured workers to receive a speedy consultation and personal follow-up with the same doctor; rather than spending hours in waiting for the doctors’ appointments in public hospitals.

You can see that we are constantly introducing more facets to our wide range of services, so that we can provide even better management for the injured workers. I must be honest to say that we are learning while we manage the injured worker. The demand from the injured workers, the insurance companies as well as corporate clients has changed significantly in last 8 years. We are always willing to listen and to learn, and we have to develop new ideas to meet the new challenge.

Dr. Sun LAI, PhD
Managing Director

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