Occupational medicine practice: Activities and skills of a national sample

Philip Harber, Sasha Rose, Johnny Bontemps, Kaochoy Saechao, Yihang Liu, David Elashoff, Samantha Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Objective: To characterize activities and skills of occupational physicians using work diaries. Methods: A total of 260 occupational physicians from a national sample provided task/skill descriptions at approximately 25 specific times. The average percentage of activity samples using a skill and the interquartile range expressed results. Results: Clinical activities, particularly musculoskeletal, were most frequent, followed by industry and health system management. Traditional public health approaches were infrequent. Injured patients, employers, and healthy workers were the most common beneficiaries. Communication about prevention and work restrictions was frequent. Interphysician variability was high for most measures. Conclusions: Results demonstrated a dichotomy-many frequent activities/skills are associated with other specialties as well (eg, treating injury); others, albeit less frequently used, demarcate the uniqueness of occupational medicine (eg, preventive examinations, toxicology, benefiting employers or worker groups, assessing work ability, payment by employers).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1147-1153
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of occupational and environmental medicine
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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