Magazine article Occupational Hazards

Doctor-Patient Communication Reduces Leave Time

Magazine article Occupational Hazards

Doctor-Patient Communication Reduces Leave Time

Article excerpt

For workers with back injuries, doctor-patient communication, especially advice on when the patient is ready to return to work, has a significant impact on the length of disability time, according to a study that appears in the June issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Following a three-year review of 325 patients who had a low-back injury that resulted in lost work time, researchers were able to conclude that patients whose doctors used a proactive communication style were more likely to return to work within the first month after a back injury. Proactive communication included giving the patient information on work restriction, job changes or behaviors necessary to heal the injury and prevent a recurrence.

According to the study, however, the benefits of proactive communication disappeared once patient injury and workload characteristics were taken into consideration, including the physical and psychosocial aspects of the work environment.

A stronger predictor was the doctor's advice that the patient was ready to return to work. …

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