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International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health

pp 1–13

First Online: 05 July 2017Received: 26 March 2017Accepted: 23 June 2017


PurposeTo achieve successful medical rehabilitation and timely return to work, general practitioners, occupational health and rehabilitation physicians need to cooperate effectively. This cooperation, however, can be hampered by organizational, interpersonal, and structural barriers. In this article, we present and discuss suggestions proposed by physicians and patients on how these barriers can be overcome.

MethodsWe conducted eight qualitative focus group discussions with general practitioners GPs, occupational health physicians OPs, rehabilitation physicians RPs and rehabilitation patients, which we analyzed with qualitative content analysis methods.

ResultsRoom for improvement exists with regard to 1 regulation e.g. formalized role and obligatory input of occupational physicians, 2 finance e.g. financial incentives for physicians based on the quality of the application, 3 technology e.g. communication by email, 4 organizational procedures e.g. provision of workplace descriptions to RPs on a routine basis, 5 education and information e.g. joint educational programs, measures to improve the image of OPs, and 6 promotion of cooperation e.g. between OPs and GPs in regards to the application process.

ConclusionsMany suggestions are practical and could be implemented into the daily routine of physicians, while others demand multi-level, multi-stakeholder approaches. Our findings are supported by numerous international studies especially from Western Europe. Future quantitative research could assess the relative weight of these findings. Feasibility and effectiveness of the proposed suggestions should be tested in controlled interventional studies.

KeywordsGeneral practice Occupational medicine Rehabilitation Health services research Interfaces Interprofessional cooperation Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1007-s00420-017-1239-6 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Author: Jan Stratil - Monika A. Rieger - Susanne Voelter-Mahlknecht

Source: https://link.springer.com/

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