Work-related primary care in occupational health physician's practice.
ABSTRACT Primary care is frequently integrated in Finnish occupational health services (OHS). This study examines the frequency of work-related health problems in occupational health (OH) physicians' consultations for primary care and associations between health problems and interventions carried out by OH physicians.
OH physicians assessed the health problems of 651 consecutive visits in a private OHS unit. The health problem was regarded as work-related if it was caused or aggravated by work, or involved impaired work ability. Interventions carried out by OH physicians were analysed by logistic regression analysis.
The main health problem was caused either partially or mainly by work or symptoms were worsened by work (27%), or symptoms impaired work ability (52%). Musculoskeletal and mental disorders were the main work-related reasons for visits. In two-thirds of the cases of mental health problems, work caused or worsened symptoms, and the majority of long sickness absences were issued due to these problems. OH physicians carried out interventions concerning work or workplace in 21% of visits. Mental disorders were associated most strongly (OR 7.23, 95% CI 3.93-13.32) with interventions. The strongest association (OR 16.09, 95% CI 9.29-27.87) with work-related visits was, when the health problem was both work-induced and impaired work ability.
Work-related health problems comprise a considerable part of Finnish OH physicians' work. OH physicians play an important role in early treatment, in the prevention of disability, and in interventions aimed at workplaces based on the knowledge they get through primary care in OHS.
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ABSTRACT: To investigate diagnosis-specific sick leave as a risk marker for subsequent disability pension. A prospective population based cohort study. Exposure to a new medically certified sick leave episode of more than seven days by diagnosis during 1985 was examined in relation to incident cause-specific disability pension through 1996. The total non-retired population of one Swedish county aged 16 to 49 years, alive and not in receipt of a disability pension at the end of 1985 (176 629 persons; 51% men). To eliminate confounding by sick leaves that translate into a disability pension, the follow up period for disability pension was started five years after the assessment of sick leave. After adjustment for demographic characteristics, the risk of disability pension from mental disorders was 14.1 times higher (95% confidence interval (CI), 12.1 to 16.4) for those with sick leave for mental disorders than for those with no sick leave. The corresponding hazard ratio for sick leave and disability pension within diagnostic category was 5.7 (95% CI, 5.3 to 6.2) for musculoskeletal diseases and 13.0 (7.7 to 21.8) for gastrointestinal diseases. Irrespective of diagnoses, the hazard ratio for sick leave and disability pension was 3.0 (2.9 to 3.1). Sick leave may provide an important risk marker for identifying groups at high risk of a disability pension, especially for psychiatric diagnoses.Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health 11/2007; 61(10):915-20. · 3.39 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: To describe medical management by the general practitioner (GP) and occupational physician (OP) of workers sick listed due to mental health problems, and to determine agreement in diagnosis, main cause of sickness absence and obstacles in return to work. A cohort of 555 employees being sick listed for 12 to 20 weeks due to mental health problems was recruited and followed for 1 year. These employees were interviewed about their mental health and contacts with GP, OP, other specialists and employer. In addition, the GP and/or the OP of 72 employees were interviewed about the medical diagnosis and management. Most employees sick listed for 12-20 weeks visited their GP and OP. According to the employees most interventions applied by the GP were medical interventions, such as referral of employees and prescription of medical drugs. Working conditions were seldom discussed by the GP and work-related interventions were never applied. Most interventions applied by the OP were work-related interventions and/or contact with the employer. The OP more often talked about working conditions and conflicts. According to the employees, the communication between GP and OP only took place in 8% of the cases. Agreement in the diagnosis, main cause of sickness absence, and obstacles in return to work reported by the GPs and OPs of the same employee was poor. In addition, similarity in reported diagnosis by GP and/or OP and the employees' scores on valid questionnaires on (mental) health was limited. The lack of communication and agreement by Dutch GPs and OPs in medical diagnosis and management of employees long-term sick listed due to mental health problems are indicators of sub-optimal medical treatment and return-to-work strategies.Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation 04/2006; 16(1):41-52. · 2.80 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Although incidence data for work-related ill-health in the UK are available, more detailed information for smaller geographical areas has hitherto been unpublished. To estimate the incidence of work-related ill-health reported by clinical specialists in Scotland, 2002-2003. THOR (The Health and Occupation Reporting network) is a UK wide reporting scheme for work-related ill-health. In 2002-2003, 241 out of 2162 physicians in THOR were based in Scotland. We have summarized the reported cases and calculated incidence rates for categories of ill-health by age, gender and industry. The UK Labour Force Survey (2002) was used to provide denominator data, with comparisons made between rates for Scotland and the rest of the UK. In 2002-2003, 4043 estimated cases were reported from Scotland. Mental ill-health was most frequently reported (41%); followed by musculoskeletal disorders (31%), skin disorders (16%), respiratory disease (10%), hearing disorders (2%) and infection (1%). The reported average annual incidence rate per 100,000 employees for all work-related ill-health in Scotland was 86.0. The highest reported rate for mental ill-health was found for employees in public administration and defence (76.7 per 100,000), and health and social work (72.3 per 100,000). The construction industry had the highest reported rate of musculoskeletal disorders (41.6 per 100,000), while hairdressers appeared at most risk of developing occupational contact dermatitis (rate=86.4 per 100,000). Despite its limitations, THOR has indicated types of work-related ill-health and related industries for targeted disease prevention in Scotland.Occupational Medicine 07/2005; 55(4):252-61. · 1.45 Impact Factor