Travelers announced the launch of the Wysa for Return to Work mobile app for injured employees. Through its partnership with Wysa, an AI-driven provider of digital solutions for mental health, Travelers’ new app will serve as a tool to injured employees struggling to return to work as a result of injury-related psychosocial barriers. 

The Wysa for Return to Work app provides its users with mental resilience skills, offered through an anonymous chat platform, to mitigate and overcome these psychosocial perceptions that prevent employees from returning to work. According to Dr. Marcos Iglesias, the chief medical director at Travelers, Wysa was selected for its widely used and trusted digital solutions.

“We felt very comfortable in the approach that it was taking – a non-medical approach [to] building resilience. We thought that this would be a perfect opportunity to help injured employees,” explains Iglesias. 

The Wysa for Return to Work app works as an “emotionally intelligent, AI-based chatbot,” Iglesias explains. “It gets to understand what your issues are, and what your concerns are. Then it helps to build resilience in the user, and it does that by teaching skills.” 

He also emphasizes that the app is not a medical app and that its services do not diagnose or treat medical conditions, but rather that the app is intended for coaching. “This isn’t meant to substitute medical treatment,” Iglesias states. “This is really meant to come alongside [injured employees] and help them deal with some of these circumstances and some of the ways that they interpret their circumstances.”

A Travelers’ news release reports that of injured employees who lost time off of work, 40% of these employees have experienced at least one psychosocial risk factor. 

Iglesias explains to Digital Insurance that psychosocial barriers are “ways of thinking or ways of responding to our world around us…they’re not a psychiatric disorder, they’re not a psychological condition. They’re how we interpret the world.”

Different categories of psychosocial barriers that injured employees may experience include pain catastrophizing, which Iglesias describes as experiencing one’s “situation in the worst possible light,” fear or fear avoidance, which includes avoidant behaviors to minimize fear of pain, and perceived injustice, which is the belief that one’s circumstances are due to the fault of someone or something else. Iglesias states that these psychosocial barriers “can actually increase our disability [or] increase the length of time that we take to recover after an injury or an illness.”

Strategies offered through the app include cognitive behavioral techniques and meditation exercises to help injured employees overcome these barriers. Travelers also offers various other services and programs for injured employees, including the Virtual Visit tool,the MyTravelers for Injured Employees tool, the Early Severity Predictor pain model, and the ConciergeClaim Nurse program. 

Travelers’ news release said, “Early pilot results show that injured employees using Wysa for Return to Work have reduced the number of missed workdays by approximately one-third, compared to those not using the app.”

The Wysa for Return to Work app is a voluntary program available to injured employees of Travelers’ insureds that the insurer has identified as experiencing a psychosocial risk factor. 

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