Work-Related Primary Care in Occupational Health Physician's Practice

Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Helsinki, Finland.
Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation (Impact Factor: 2.8). 07/2011; 22(1):88-96. DOI: 10.1007/s10926-011-9325-1
Source: PubMed

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.

Download full-text


Available from: Anneli Ojajärvi, Nov 05, 2014
1 Follower
22 Reads
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    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ill-health in the UK are available, more detailed information for smaller geographical areas has hitherto been unpublished.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. DOI:10.1093/occmed/kqi108 · 1.03 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: There is considerable uncertainty about work-relatedness and musculoskeletal disorders in general, and it is also not clear how physicians decide whether work has caused a disorder in an individual patient. To investigate physicians' beliefs about assessment of occupational attribution for work-related musculoskeletal disorders. A questionnaire survey was sent to 526 occupational physicians and 248 rheumatologists on: characteristics of cases seen, assessment of work attribution, definition of work-relatedness and threshold for case reporting. Continuous variables were analysed by mean, standard deviation, an independent two-sample t-test and the Mann-Whitney test. Mean and median values were calculated and Spearman's rank test was applied to ranked data. Questionnaires were completed by 68% occupational physicians and 64% rheumatologists. Both groups of physicians believed that 'history of onset in relation to workplace changes' and 'symptoms consistent with work exposure' were the most important factors suggesting work attribution. They considered that the most important objective of a reporting scheme was detection of trends in disease incidence and that the most suitable criteria for defining work-relatedness was the probability that exposure at work 'more likely than not' caused the condition (mean 0.73; SD=0.17), in a perceived likelihood scale (0-1). There was a strong agreement between occupational physicians and rheumatologists on questions about work-relatedness and musculoskeletal disorders. The level of probability for concluding work-relatedness has been quantified.
    Occupational Medicine 07/2005; 55(4):298-307. DOI:10.1093/occmed/kqi116 · 1.03 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Statistics from Labour Force Surveys are widely quoted as evidence for the scale of occupational illness in Europe. However, occupational attribution depends on whether participants believe their health problem is caused or aggravated by work, and personal beliefs may be unreliable. The authors assessed the potential for error for work-associated arm pain. A questionnaire was mailed [corrected] to working-aged adults, randomly chosen from five British general practices. They were asked about: occupational activities; mental health; self-rated health; arm pain; and beliefs about its causation. Those in work (n = 1769) were asked about activities likely to cause arm pain, from which the authors derived a variable for exposure to any "arm-straining" occupational activity. The authors estimated the relative risk (RR) from arm-straining activity, using a modified Cox model, and derived the population attributable fraction (PAF). They compared the proportion of arm pain cases reporting their symptom as caused or made worse by work with the calculated PAF, overall and for subsets defined by demographic and other characteristics. Arm pain in the past year was more common in the 1143 subjects who reported exposure to arm-straining occupational activity (RR 1.2, 95% CI 1.1 to 1.5). In the study sample as a whole, 53.9% of 817 cases reported their arm pain as work-associated, whereas the PAF for arm-straining occupational activity was only 13.9%. The ratio of cases reported as work-related to the calculated attributable number was substantially higher below 50 years (5.4) than at older ages (3.0) and higher in those with worse self-rated and mental health. Counting people with arm pain which they believe to be work-related can overestimate the number of cases attributable to work substantially. This casts doubt on the validity of a major source of information used by European governments to evaluate their occupational health strategies.
    Occupational and environmental medicine 06/2008; 65(5):331-5. DOI:10.1136/oem.2007.035378 · 3.27 Impact Factor
Show more