Let’s Go Back To Work

The Claim Lab is developing specialized models to predict return to work (RTW) for a range of conditions. Whilst doing our research we’ve referenced some previous studies, one we found particularly interesting was published in Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, ‘Let’s get back to work: survival analysis on the return-to-work after depression’.[1]

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Aim

The aim of this study was to assess the value of adding health related quality of life (HRQoL) and severity of depression factors into a model that predicts the duration of time to return to work.

Method

The data for this study was derived from a longitudinal study that looked at 126 workers who had been on sickness absence between 4-12 weeks. It studied the effectiveness of collaborative care treatment in absent workers with moderate to severe depression. 59 workers were to receive usual care and 63 received the collaborative care treatment.

Information was collected from the workers using patient-reported outcome questionnaires on demographics, job and health related measures (total of 116 observations) and a model was developed to predict duration of sickness and full RTW. Two added values that were paid particular attention to were the health-related quality of life and the severity of the depression factors, and how they predicted RTW.

Results

The results of the study found that adding health related quality of life and severity of depression factors indicators into the model did have some impact. Whilst more severely depressed workers had a longer duration of RTW, this link wasn’t very strong and it did not significantly improve the model’s ability to predict RTW. The study also found that lower HRQoL leads to a longer RTW and this link was a much stronger indicator: workers with a low HRQoL took longer to RTW and those with better HRQoL returned quicker. This indicator improved the overall effectiveness of the model’s ability to predict.

Conclusion

In summary, this study’s results are different to others in the field, as it looked specifically at workers with moderate to severe depression and specifically how the severity of the depression and the HRQoL could predict the duration until RTW. It did not find severity of depression was an indicator of how long it would take a worker to RTW, as some other studies that have not focused on depression specifically, have found. Instead it has suggested HRQoL is a better indicator and is more predictive.

The study suggests that more health related quality of life measures are used in the future to better predict RTW. The Claim Lab is hoping to capture this useful and highly predictive data in its models by utilizing a questionnaire tool that claimants respond to, giving greater insight to the psychosocial factors that are often missing in traditional data points such as doctor’s notes.

If you are interested in learning more about this innovative approach, please contact us at: info@claimlab.org.

[1]Vermer et al. Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment 2013:9 1637–1645. http://dx.doi.org/10.2147/NDT.S49883.