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


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
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The present study was initiated to examine the activities of private clinic- or hospital-based occupational physicians (OPs) and to identify difficulties the OPs encountered in their occupational health service (OHS). A questionnaire was sent by mail to 557 OPs in Kyoto prefecture, Japan. Effective answers were obtained from 86 OPs who were private practitioners or physicians in hospitals and served as OPs on a part-time basis. Considering 3 hours as a unit, a majority (92%) served <1 to 2 units/month. The leading fields of OHS provided by the OPs were general health examination and its follow-up, prevention of overwork, and mental health care, as well as support of workers on sick leave to return to work. OPs wished to allocate more time for maintenance and management of work and the work environment, mental health care, work area rounding, and attendance at the safety and health committee meetings. Difficulties were encountered most often in the management of mental ill health and overwork, and support of employees' return to work. Many OPs also reported difficulties with industrial hygiene-related issues such as risk assessment, and maintenance and management of work and the work environment. The present survey identified difficulties that were frequently encountered by private clinic- and hospital-based OPs in their practice of OHS; these include issues on mental health, overwork and industrial hygiene. The needs to offering OPs specific opportunities to gain information and skills in these areas are stressed.
    No preview · Article · Mar 2013 · Industrial Health