Occupational issues in episodic care populations

Philip Harber, Michael Bublik, Clara Steimberg, Jeanne Wallace, Brenda Merz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: Much care for non-emergency problems is provided at "episodic care" settings (e.g., urgent care and emergency room). Methods: Ninety-four subjects, without known occupational disease, who were seeking care for a chronic or sub-acute problem in an episodic care location, were interviewed to assess the frequency and types of occupational health concerns. They were asked whether work probably "caused" or "made worse" their illness and whether their illness "made work difficult." Results: Categorized hierarchically, 20% reported causation, 15% worsening, and 15% interference of illness with work. (Each was categorized in one category only). Only 50% reported absence of a workplace-health interaction. One-third reported that workplace changes could improve their functional status. Nevertheless, workplace factors were discussed only 21% of the time in physician-patient encounters. Conclusions: This study suggests that occupational health issues are frequent in episodic care settings and that the definition of occupational health issues should be broadened to include "made worse" and "illness makes work difficult" as well as the traditional workplace causation definition. Further, episodic care settings present unique opportunities for prevention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)221-226
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Industrial Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2003


  • Episodic care
  • Occupational disease
  • Urgent care center
  • Work causation
  • Workplace accommodation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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