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International research has generated strong evidence that healthcare providers (HCPs) play a key role in the return to work (RTW) process. However, pressure on consultation time, administrative challenges and limited knowledge about a patient's workplace can thwart meaningful engagement. Aim: Our study sought to understand how HCPs interact with workers compensation boards (WCBs), manage the treatment of workers compensation patients and navigate the RTW process. Method: The study involved in-depth interviews with 97 HCPs in British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario and Newfoundland and Labrador and interviews with 34 case managers (CMs). An inductive, constant comparative analysis was employed to develop key themes. Findings: Most HCPs did not encounter significant problems with the workers compensation system or the RTW process when they treated patients who had visible, acute, physical injuries, but faced challenges when they encountered patients with multiple injuries, gradual-onset or complex illnesses, chronic pain and mental health conditions. In these circumstances, many experienced the workers compensation system as opaque and confusing. A number of systemic, process and administrative hurdles, disagreements about medical decisions and lack of role clarity impeded the meaningful engagement of HCPs in RTW. In turn, this has resulted in challenges for injured workers (IWs), as well as inefficiencies in the workers compensation system. Conclusion: This study raises questions about the appropriate role of HCPs in the RTW process. We offer suggestions about practices and policies that can clarify the role of HCPs and make workers compensation systems easier to navigate for all stakeholders.
Background: Hospitalization data underestimate the occurrence of transient ischemic attack (TIA). As TIA is frequently diagnosed in primary care, methodologies for the accurate ascertainment of a TIA from physician claims data are required for surveillance and health systems planning in this population. The present study evaluated the diagnostic accuracy of multiple algorithms for TIA from a longitudinal population-based physician billing database. Methods: Population-based administrative data from the province of British Columbia were used to identify the base population (1992–2007; N=102,492). Using discharge records for hospital admissions for acute ischemic stroke with a recent (<90 days) TIA as the reference standard, we performed receiver-operating characteristic analyses to calculate sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values and overall accuracy, and to compare area under the curve for each physician billing algorithm. To evaluate the impact of different case definitions on population-based TIA burden, we also estimated the annual TIA occurrence associated with each algorithm. Results: Physician billing algorithms showed low to moderate sensitivity, with the algorithm for two consecutive physician visits within 90 days showing the highest sensitivity at 37.7% (CI95%=37.4–38.1). All algorithms demonstrated high specificity and moderate to high overall accuracy, resulting in low positive predictive values (≤5%), low discriminability (0.53–0.57) and high false positive rates (1 – specificity). Population-based estimates of TIA occurrence were comparable to prior studies and declined over time. Conclusions: Physician billing data have insufficient sensitivity to identify TIAs but may be used in combination with hospital discharge data to improve the accuracy of estimating the population-based occurrence of TIAs.
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