Massachusetts Medical Society: Work Is Medicine - Strategies for Improving Functional Outcomes

Work Is Medicine - Strategies for Improving Functional Outcomes

~This course is offered by the Massachusetts Medical Society, and endorsed by the New England College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.~

Most physicians caring for adults are asked at some point to make decisions about the work status of their patients. But few are taught much about this topic in medical training, including the health impact of these decisions. This new, engaging online case-based course will teach you the importance of including work recommendations in your patient-centered treatment plan. It will also equip you with the tools for discussing these decisions with patients. Using guided, simulated conversations, you will have a chance to practice talking with patients about their work issues. There are eight modules in this course, each takes 15 to 30 minutes to complete, offering up to 3.5 CME credits. The modules can be taken in any order.

This series:

1) Shows how to prevent or mitigate the harmful effects of temporary work disability and optimize functional health outcomes.

2) Teaches about the physical, psychological, and socioeconomic benefits of work and how to recognize work disability as a harmful patient outcome.

3) Helps clinicians identify modifiable barriers to return to work and apply evidence based strategies to guide patients toward successful return to work (RTW).

4) Provides practice in having difficult conversations with patients around RTW decisions.

5) Explains the concept of quaternary prevention, illustrating how harmful outcomes like opioid addiction, excessive medical care and work disability are related.

Intended Audience:

All primary care physicians, specialists and other clinicians who treat patients of working age. 

Series Modules Purchase Options:

You may purchase modules individually or all 8 modules together. 
(Estimated time to complete: 15 to 30 minutes per module)

Click here to purchase all 8 modules at once. 

Click individual modules below to purchase separately.

Work is Medicine: Module 1 - Disability Concepts 
After participating in this activity, you should be able to explain the concepts of impairment, disability and work disability. 

Work is Medicine: Module 2 - The Connection Between Work and Health
After participating in this activity, you should be able to refer to research evidence for the health benefits of work and the negative health impact of work disability.

Work is Medicine: Module 3 - Psychosocial Risk Factors for Work Disability
After participating in this activity, you should be able to name and explain at least 3 psychosocial risk factors for work disability.

Work is Medicine: Module 4 - Assessing Ability and Identifying Disability Risk 
After participating in this activity, you should be able to apply simple in-office evaluation techniques and screening questions to evaluate ability and recognize risk for avoidable work disability.

Work is Medicine: Module 5 - Communicating Return-to-Work Expectations
After participating in this activity, you should be able to improve communication skills related to return‐to‐work (RTW) expectations and planning.

Work is Medicine: Module 6 - Engaging Patients and Employers in Behaviors Supporting Work Goals
After participating in this activity, you should be able to engage patients and employers in behaviors that support health and work productivity.

Work is Medicine: Module 7 - First Do No Harm: Introduction to Quaternary Prevention 
After participating in this activity, you should be able to use the concept of quaternary prevention to explain how work disability risk is also related to risk for excessive and harmful medical care.

Work is Medicine: Module 8 - Prescribing Work Activities 
After participating in this activity, you should be able to prescribe work activities as part of a patient-centered treatment plan.


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