Web-based tool predicts rehabilitation treatments for injured workers

A new web-based tool helps health professionals to determine the appropriate treatment for injured workers, according to recent research published in the Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation.

Researchers from the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada, extracted data from a Canadian provincial workers’ compensation database from December 2009 to January 2011 on 8,611 claimants undergoing assessments to determine if they were ready to return to work. Along with personal information such as age, sex, marital status, education and job status, the database contained details about injury types, rehabilitation methods, time between injury and rehabilitation, pain measures and overall outcomes.

Study results showed baseline clinician classification accuracy was high for selecting treatment programs that lead to successful return-to-work. However, classification performance using a classification algorithm and the computer-based clinical decision support tool outperformed the clinician baseline classification. Researchers found the computer tool considered it a mistake when patients are referred for treatments that do not result in a return to work.

“The goal of this tool, and all our rehabilitation strategies today, is to be able to help these people feel healthy again, participate in productive work and reintegrate into their joins as quick as possible,” Doug Gross, PhD, an associate professor of physical therapy in the faculty of rehabilitation medicine at the University of Alberta, stated in a university report. “There are huge costs economically to the workers’ compensation system, so we’re constantly looking to improve health-care strategies to help these workers transition back to the workplace.”

For more information:

Gross DP. J Occup Rehabil. 10.1007/s10926-013-9430-4.

Disclosure: Gross has no relevant financial disclosures.

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